Woodpeckers in Iowa

Iowa, a favorite destination for birdwatchers, is home to around eleven woodpecker species. Some of them, like the red-headed woodpecker and yellow-bellied sapsucker, are migratory, traveling from Iowa and heading south for the winter, while others reside in the state year-round.

The largest woodpecker in Iowa is the pileated woodpecker, measuring 17.5 inches in length. In contrast, the black-and-white downy woodpecker is the smallest at 6.1 inches.

Woodpeckers in Iowa (IA)

Different Types of Woodpeckers Found in Iowa

NameIdentifying FeaturesWhere They Are Found in Iowa
Red-bellied WoodpeckerRed cap on the headCommon in woodlands and parks
Downy WoodpeckerSmall size, black wings with white spotsCommon throughout the state
Hairy WoodpeckerSimilar to Downy but largerCommon in wooded areas
Northern FlickerBrownish body with black markingsOpen areas, fields, and yards
Pileated WoodpeckerLarge, striking red crest and black bodyForested regions and woodlands
Yellow-bellied SapsuckerYellow belly and red throatWooded areas with sap-rich trees
Red-headed WoodpeckerBright red head and black wingsOpen woodlands and prairies
Red-breasted SapsuckerRed throat, white bars on wingsRare, primarily in wooded areas
Black-backed WoodpeckerBlack back and white undersidesRare and mainly in northern forests
Lewis’s WoodpeckerPinkish-red belly, dark face, and gray collarRare and found in western regions
Acorn WoodpeckerBold black and white markings, clown-like faceRare, in southwestern Iowa

The last four birds in the above list are considered accidental species, while the rest regularly occur in the state.

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