Woodpeckers in Illinois

The abundance of wetlands, plains, farmlands, woodlands, and forests makes Illinois a suitable place for woodpeckers to thrive. No wonder the state is home to as many as twelve species of woodpeckers. Some are migratory, including northern flickers, red-headed woodpeckers, and yellow-bellied sapsuckers, while others are year-round residents. 

The largest woodpecker in the state, the pileated woodpecker (17.5 inches), is more common in southern Illinois and rare in the northern part of the state. Central Illinois, on the other hand, is home to the red-bellied woodpecker. The black and white downy woodpecker is the smallest and most common, measuring around 6.1 inches.

Woodpeckers in Illinois (IL)

Different Types of Woodpeckers Found in Illinois

Woodpecker NameIdentifying FeaturesWhere They Are Found in  Illinois
Downy WoodpeckerSmall size, black wings with white spotsThroughout the state
Hairy WoodpeckerSimilar to Downy but largerCommon in wooded areas
Red-bellied WoodpeckerRed cap on the headWoodlands and suburbs
Northern FlickerBrownish body with black markingsOpen areas and fields
Pileated WoodpeckerLarge, striking red crest and black bodyBottomland forests and woodlots
Yellow-bellied SapsuckerYellow belly and red throatWooded areas with sap-rich trees
Red-headed WoodpeckerBright red head and black wingsOpen woodlands and prairies
Black-backed WoodpeckerBlack back and white undersidesNorthern forests and woodlands
Red-naped SapsuckerRed nape and throat patch, white bars on wingsWoodlands, aspen groves
Williamson’s SapsuckerWhite wing patches, red throat and crownRare, coniferous forests
Red-cockaded WoodpeckerSmall with a black cap and white cheek patchesRare, found in southern pine forests
Lewis’s WoodpeckerPinkish-red belly, dark face, and gray collarRare, found in western regions

The last five species in the above list are considered accidental species, while the others are regularly occurring in the state.

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