Woodpeckers in South Dakota

South Dakota is a state where the West meets the East, and this characteristic is reflected in the wildlife it supports. Take, for example, its woodpeckers. Here, you will find species that are common either in the eastern or the western half of the US. The northern flicker has both the red-shafted (West Coast variant) and yellow-shafted (East Coast variant) subspecies living here. The two types even hybridize in South Dakota.

Woodpeckers in South Dakota (SD)

Different Types of Woodpeckers Found in South Dakota

NameIdentifying FeaturesWhere They Are Found in South Dakota
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
American Three-toed WoodpeckerBlack and white plumageFound in remote coniferous forests
Black-backed WoodpeckerBlack back with white spots, white undersideDense coniferous forests in the northern parts of the state
Red-naped SapsuckerRed patch on nape, white bellyForested areas, parks, and wooded suburbs
Lewis’s WoodpeckerDark greenish-black plumage, pink bellyOpen woodlands, burned areas, and river valleys
Williamson’s SapsuckerBlack and white plumage, red throat and chestConiferous forests and mixed woodlands in western South Dakota

The American three-toed and black-backed woodpeckers can only be seen in the Black Hills National Forest of South Dakota. The Lewis’s woodpecker is also mainly found there but occurs in other places in the western part of the state as well. It is because the said national forest has habitats unique to the surrounding areas, making it an oasis for wildlife. The woodpeckers especially prefer its abundant ponderosa pine trees.

Subscribe our newsletter

Enter your email here to stay updated with the animal kingdom