Woodpeckers in Rhode Island

Despite being the smallest US state, Rhode Island exhibits rich diversity in its landscapes, making it the home to around ten woodpecker species. Of them, the three most common are the northern flicker, downy and hairy. The downy is the most common and the smallest (measuring only 6.1 inches). The pileated is the largest, with a length of 17.5 inches. Life has not been easy for this bird in the Ocean State. In the mid-1980s, they could be found only in a few places here. However, their population has gradually increased with the maturation of Rhode Island’s forests. But the red-bellied has undergone the most population increase (0.8% annually from 1966 to 2019) for the same reason. 

woodpeckers in Rhode Island (RI)

Different Types of Woodpeckers Found in Rhode Island

NameIdentifying FeaturesWhere They Are Found in Rhode Island
Downy WoodpeckerSmall size, black and white plumage, red spot on the back of the headThroughout the state
Hairy WoodpeckerLarger than Downy, similar plumageWooded areas, forests, and suburban neighborhoods
Northern FlickerBrown plumage with black spots, white rumpOpen areas, woodlands, and urban parks
Pileated WoodpeckerLarge size, striking red crest, black and white plumageForested areas and wooded parks throughout the state
Red-bellied WoodpeckerRed patch on the back of the head, black and white barred plumageWoodlands, forests, and suburban areas
Yellow-bellied SapsuckerYellow belly and white stripes on wingsForested areas, orchards, and wooded suburban neighborhoods
Red-headed WoodpeckerEntirely red head and neckSparse populations in open woodlands and along rivers
Black-backed WoodpeckerBlack back with white spots, white undersideDense coniferous forests in the northern parts of the state
Lewis’s WoodpeckerDark greenish-black plumage, pink bellyOpen woodlands, burned areas, and river valleys
American Three-toed WoodpeckerBlack and white plumageFound in remote coniferous forests

The yellow-bellied sapsucker is the only sapsucker residing in the state. They breed in Canada and come to Rhode Island for the winter. All the other birds on the above list can be seen throughout the year.

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