Woodpeckers in Colorado

Filled with a wide array of natural elements, Colorado attracts abundant wildlife. The birds exemplify the diversity of its fauna, with as many as 513 species found here. Thanks to its vast State Parks and ample forests, the place is an abode for woodpeckers – 13 species, to be precise.

Despite being more common in Canada, Colorado is one of the few states where the American three-toed woodpecker can be found. Another notable species, the red-headed woodpecker, can only be seen in the eastern half of the state during the spring and summer. They migrate in the winter. Williamson’s sapsucker is also a migratory species that only visits during the breeding season (from late March to September) and leaves for the winter.  

Woodpeckers in Colorado (CO)

Different Types of Woodpeckers Found in Colorado

NameIdentifying FeaturesWhere They Are Found in Colorado
Downy WoodpeckerSmall size, white belly, and white spotsCommon in wooded areas and forests statewide
Northern FlickerBrown with black spots, red patch on napeCommon in open areas, parks, and woodlands statewide
Hairy WoodpeckerSimilar to Downy but larger with a longer billFound in wooded areas and forests across Colorado
Williamson’s SapsuckerBlack crown, white face, and yellow bellyOccurs in coniferous forests and mountainous regions
Red-breasted SapsuckerRed throat and crown, white belly, and barred backFound in mountainous areas and coniferous forests
Ladder-backed WoodpeckerLadder-like pattern on back, black crown, and white faceFound in arid regions and canyons in the state
Yellow-bellied SapsuckerBlack and white striped head, yellow bellyOccasional migrant, found in wooded areas
Red-naped SapsuckerSimilar to Yellow-bellied but with red on napeOccasional in mountainous and forested regions
American Three-toed WoodpeckerBlack and white with three toesOccasional sightings in coniferous forests
Red-headed WoodpeckerDistinctive red head and white bellyRare in Colorado, may be found in wooded areas
Lewis’s WoodpeckerPinkish-red belly, gray collar, dark faceSporadic, found in open woodlands and mountainous regions
Acorn WoodpeckerBlack, white, and red head with distinctive face pattern.Found in foothills and woodlands around the Rockies at lower elevations
Red-bellied WoodpeckerRed crown and nape, pale belly, and zebra-striped backRare in Colorado, may be found across the Rocky Mountains in the eastern and northeastern parts of the state

The acorn woodpecker, a rare species here, has been sighted only around a dozen times. Similarly, Colorado doesn’t fall within the natural range of the red-bellied woodpecker. Only a small population travels to the state from Kansas occasionally.


Q. Are woodpeckers protected in Colorado?

Ans. Woodpeckers are migratory nongame birds and, hence, protected in Colorado by the Federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act. So, people worried about the damage caused by the noisy birds to their homes can adopt preventive measures for their removal without harming them.

Subscribe our newsletter

Enter your email here to stay updated with the animal kingdom