The southern American state of Arkansas is also known as “the natural state” due to the diverse landscapes it encompasses such as forested hills, mountains, rivers, lakes, hot springs, forests, valleys, bayous, fertile plains and farms. The state also boasts of 52 state parks. Its climate is classified as “humid subtropical”, bordering on “humid continental” in some areas, with hot humid winters, and more dry, mild winters. All these factors together invite a multitude of birdlife to the state, including woodpeckers. The term ‘woodpecker’ can refer to any of the 180 species of birds that are under the umbrella of the ‘Picinae’ family of “true woodpeckers” which is a branch of the ‘Picidae’ family. They come in many colours and are best known for their carpentry abilities, wherein they use their strong beaks to drill or bore into tree trunks, in search of food or for building nests. The following is a list of the various breeds of woodpeckers in Arkansas,
Types Of Woodpeckers in Arkansas
1. Red-Bellied Woodpecker
Unlike what its name suggests, Red-Bellied Woodpeckers are types of woodpeckers with a tinge of orangish-red on their underbelly. They have black and white patterns on their wings and a swatch of bright red on their head. These birds can measure upto 24 cm in length, have a wingspan ranging from 34 to 40 cm, and weigh about 75 gm. These woodpeckers reside in the forested areas of Arkansas throughout the year and feed mainly on insects. It is also one of the commonly seen woodpeckers in Pennsylvania.
Also Read: Top 10 Amazing Woodpeckers In Ohio
Image Source: Wikimedia
2. Downy Woodpecker
Downy Woodpeckers are amongst the most commonly spotted breeds of woodpeckers in Michigan and Arkansas. They have white underbellies and a black back and head which are covered in white spots. Additionally, male Downy Woodpeckers have a red patch on the back of their heads. This bird of Iowa is known to be the smallest of all the different breeds of woodpeckers inhabiting the North American continent. These birds In Pennsylvania generally weigh between 21 to 28 grams and have a wingspan of upto 10 cm. These birds can be seen in Arkansas throughout the year, but more frequently in the winter months in woodlands, groves, willows, parks and backyards. It is also one of the commonly seen woodpeckers in Florida
3. Red-Cockaded Woodpecker
With an average weight of 43 gm and a wingspan of 35.5 cm, Red-Cockaded Woodpeckers are characterized as medium-sized birds with distinct white patches on their cheeks and detailed black and white patterns on their backs. These woodpeckers are territorial and are the only woodpecker breed to nest in pine trees. They prefer to live away from humans in forests and savannas.
4. Hairy Woodpecker
Mostly seen in Arkansas during the winter months, the hairy woodpeckers are a common sight in Colorado and Arkansas can be spotted in trees, parking lots, parks and cemeteries. In terms of appearance, they are quite similar to Downy Woodpeckers but are larger in size. They are medium-sized birds with a wingspan of 39 cm and can weigh upto 96 gm. They have white underbellies with dark coloured wings and backs. Additionally, male Hairy Woodpeckers have small red patches on their heads. These woodpeckers usually feed on tree sap and wood-boring insects.
5. Pileated Woodpecker
The inspiration for Woody Woodpecker’s character, the Pileated Woodpecker is one of the largest breeds of woodpeckers inhabiting the North American Continent. These crow-sized woodpeckers have an impressive wingspan ranging from 66 to 76 cm and weigh from 250 to 400 gm. They have a distinct red comb and are hence listed as one of the birds with red on heads along with white streaks down their necks and black underbellies and wings. These woodpeckers leave a trail of rectangular holes on the trees they drill out in search of wood-boring insects. Pileated Woodpeckers can generally be found in pine forests and old woodlands, especially in or around deadwood trees.
6. Yellow-Bellied Sapsucker
These medium-sized woodpeckers weigh from 42 to 54 gm and have a wingspan ranging from 33 to 40 cm. They have yellow underbellies, with black and white tones throughout their body. Male Yellow-Bellied Sapsuckers can be differentiated from their female counterparts by their bright red throats (whereas their female counterparts white throats). They make trees their main food source, by drilling rows of neatly aligned sap wells into them. Yellow-Bellied Sapsuckers can be found in the young deciduous forest areas of Arkansas.
7. Northern Flicker
The Northern Flicker is a medium-sized species of woodpecker with a wingspan of 55 cm, and weighing 170 gm. They have an average life expectancy of upto 9 years. These woodpeckers are unique, distinctly known for their greyish-brown plumage and the black coloured crescent on their chests. Northern Flickers are migratory in nature and can be found in the parks, wetlands, and woodlands of Arkansas. They are unique in their foraging habits, and peck the ground repeatedly with their strong beaks, to catch insects.
8. Red-Headed Woodpecker
Mentioned among the world’s most attractive birds, Red-Headed Woodpeckers boast a beautiful shade of red on their heads. They have white underbellies and chests, and the black and white patterns on their wings give them the nickname of “flying checkerboards” They have a habit of storing food in tree cavities and cracks for winters, and feed mostly on insects, fruits and berries. Their large wingspan of 40 cm allows them to catch insects mid-air, instead of the conventional way of hunting them by drilling into trees. These birds like to live in dead trees near the ground, in woodlands and forests, where there is a steady supply of their food source. Due to the loss of their natural habitat, their population has significantly decreased by over 70 per cent in less than half a decade.
These are some of the commonly seen woodpeckers in Arkansas. Kindly share and do post your comments.