Woodpeckers in Virginia

As many as ten woodpecker species are native to Virginia. The largest in the state is the pileated woodpecker, measuring a whopping 17.5 inches! In contrast, a length of only 6.1 inches makes the downy the smallest, but that doesn’t stop it from being the most common. All these birds except the yellow-bellied sapsucker reside in the state throughout the year. The sapsucker is a winter visitor breeding in the northern territories, as far as Canada.

Woodpeckers in Virginia (VA)

Different Types of Woodpeckers Found in Virginia

NameIdentifying FeaturesWhere They Are Found in Virginia
Downy WoodpeckerSmall size, white spots on black wings, white backCommon throughout forests, woodlands, and urban areas
Hairy WoodpeckerLarger than Downy, entirely black upperparts, white undersideFound in wooded areas, parks, and suburban neighborhoods
Northern FlickerMedium-sized, brown with black bars on the back, white rumpOften seen in open habitats, fields, and along roadsides
Pileated WoodpeckerLarge, mostly black with white stripes on face and neckInhabits mature forests, especially with large trees
Red-bellied WoodpeckerMedium-sized, red cap on head, black-and-white barred backCommon in woodlands, forests, and suburban areas
Yellow-bellied SapsuckerMedium-sized, black and white striped face, yellow bellyFrequents deciduous forests, orchards, and wooded areas
Red-headed WoodpeckerMedium-sized, entirely red head and neck, black back and wingsOften found in open woodlands and savannas
Lewis’s WoodpeckerMedium-sized, dark greenish-black plumage, red face and bellyRarely observed, prefers open woodlands and grasslands
Red-cockaded WoodpeckerMedium-sized, black and white barred back, small white cheek patchRestricted to mature pine forests in southeastern Virginia
Gila WoodpeckerMedium-sized, pale grayish-brown with black and white barringExtremely rare visitor, occasionally seen in southern Virginia

Northern Virginia has all the woodpeckers in the above list except the red-cockaded (state and federal endangered), Gila, and Lewis’s woodpeckers – the rare species inhabiting the state.


Q. How do you remove woodpeckers in central Virginia?

Ans. Woodpeckers can cause damage to your home’s wooden structures, and many people find their loud drumming calls disturbing. If that is the case, it is best to adopt control measures as soon as you hear their drumming in close quarters. But remember, you cannot harm or kill them as the Federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act protects them.

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