Woodpeckers in Massachusetts

All the woodpeckers in Massachusetts, except the three rare species (Lewis’s, black-backed, and American three-toed), nest in the state. Their mating season extends from April to June. Depending on the species, 3-10 eggs are laid in the nest cavities lined with wood chips.

The black-and-white downy holds the title of the smallest woodpecker in the state (6.1 inches), while the pileated is the largest (17.5 inches).

Woodpeckers in Massachusetts (MA)

Different Types of Woodpeckers Found in Massachusetts

NameIdentifying FeaturesWhere They Are Found in Massachusetts
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
Red-bellied WoodpeckerRed cap on the headWoodlands, suburbs, and parks
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
Black-backed WoodpeckerBlack back and white undersidesRare, mainly in northern forests
American Three-toed WoodpeckerThree-toed feet and black backRare and primarily found in northern forests
Lewis’s WoodpeckerPinkish-red belly and gray collarRare and occasional sightings in the state

The red-headed woodpecker is uncommon and breeds erratically in the state. Though its breeding is quite infrequent, it presents an exciting opportunity for birdwatchers. On the other hand, through the three decades spanning the early 1970s to 2000s, red-bellied woodpeckers have undergone a steep increase in population. They seem to have flooded the low-lying areas of Massachusetts. The first breeding bird atlas (1974-1979) recorded only three areas with breeding pairs. By the time of the second atlas (2007-2012), breeding pairs were found throughout the state, recording a whopping 16,000% increase in the last 30 years!

Subscribe our newsletter

Enter your email here to stay updated with the animal kingdom