Woodpeckers in Utah

With its varied landscapes ranging from mountain forests to red rock deserts, Utah offers a suitable habitat for various woodpeckers, some quite uncommon. Like, the Lewis’s woodpecker thrives in its mountains and larger tracts of old-growth forests, especially ponderosa pines. The red-naped sapsucker is a migratory species that inhabits the valleys of the Rocky Mountains in the winter. At that time, it is often seen in residential areas of the state. The American three-toed woodpecker, the hardiest of all, breeds in the northernmost parts and the central mountains.

Woodpeckers in Utah (UT)

Different Types of Woodpeckers Found in Utah

NameIdentifying FeaturesWhere They Are Found in Utah
Downy WoodpeckerSmall size, black and white plumage, red spot on back of 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
Lewis’s WoodpeckerDark greenish-black plumage, pink bellyOpen woodlands, burned areas, and river valleys
Red-naped SapsuckerRed patch on nape, white bellyForested areas, parks, and wooded suburbs
Williamson’s SapsuckerBlack and white plumage, red throat and chestConiferous forests and mixed woodlands in western Utah
Ladder-backed WoodpeckerBlack and white barred plumage, spotted backArid regions, deserts, and scrublands in southern and eastern Utah
American Three-toed WoodpeckerBlack and white plumageFound in remote coniferous forests
Acorn WoodpeckerBlack back with white spots, white undersideOak woodlands and mixed forests throughout the state
Yellow-bellied SapsuckerYellow belly and white stripes on wingsForested areas, orchards, and wooded suburban neighborhoods
Gilded FlickerGolden-yellow plumage with black markingsArid regions, deserts, and open woodlands in southern Utah
Red-headed WoodpeckerEntirely red head and neckSparse populations in open woodlands and along rivers
Red-breasted SapsuckerRed throat and breast, white bellyConiferous forests and wooded areas in mountainous regions

The American three-toed woodpecker, rare in Utah, can be best viewed in the Ashley National Forest and Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest. The Zion National Park in southwestern Utah hosts another occasional species, the acorn woodpecker. The red-breasted sapsucker is extremely rare, with its last sighting recorded in 2004. The yellow-bellied sapsucker is also an occasional species, last seen here in 2020.

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