The northwestern state of Michigan has much to offer with a 3,288-mile coastline, 19.3 million acres of forest cover, and 275,000 acres of freshwater coastal dunes. It is also known as “the Great Lakes State” because it houses the longest freshwater coastline in the world, four great lakes, and about 11,000 small lakes. Michigan has a typically continental climate, with slight variation across the state. In north Michigan, summers are warm and winters are freezing. In south Michigan summers are hot, and winters are usually cool. This allows the state to be home to over 2600 plant species, 692 animal species, 15,000 kinds of insects and around 450 species of birds. We will discuss 9 types Of woodpeckers in Michigan.
Woodpeckers are known for their habit of, quite literally, pecking into the wood in search of food or creating shelter (nests) with their sharp and strong beaks. These master carpenters are mentioned among the most intelligent birds in the world and come in a variety of colours and sizes. The following is a list of the 9 varieties of woodpeckers in Michigan.
Woodpeckers In Michigan
1. Downy Woodpecker
The Downy Woodpecker is a small-sized woodpecker found in Arkansas and Michigan measuring 14 to 17 cm in length, with a weight of 0.02kg and wings spanning 10 cm. It has a black and white plumage with blotches of black on its back interspersed occasionally with white stripes and spots. Additionally, males have a red spot on their heads. These woodpeckers feed on insect larvae, acorns and berries, and can be found in deadwood trees and branches throughout the year in Michigan.
2. Hairy Woodpecker
Quite similar in looks with the Downy Woodpecker, Hairy Woodpeckers are commonly found woodpecker in Pennsylvania and Michigan can grow at least one-third size larger than them. These are medium-sized woodpeckers with a wingspan of 33 to 43 cm. These woodpeckers have white underbellies and blackheads and feathers, with white patterns on their wings. Males have a red spot on their heads. They feed on insects as well as tree sap and can be found throughout the year in Michigan.
3. Red-Bellied Woodpecker
Red-Bellied Woodpeckers are chatty birds of woodpecker species commonly found in Florida and Michigan with a wingspan of 34 to 40 cm, and a body measuring about 24 cm. They have an orange-red tinge on their bellies and zebra-patterned wings. These woodpeckers feed on nuts, insects and fruits. They can be seen throughout the year, in the southern peninsula of Michigan, especially in deciduous trees.
4. Pileated Woodpecker
These “Woody Woodpeckers” are the second largest species of woodpeckers in Ohio and North America. They have a black body with white cheeks and a bright red crest. They have an impressive wingspan of 66 to 76 cm. These birds feed on larvae, carpenter ants and termites. However, they also eat blackberries, sumac and elderberries occasionally. They prefer to live away from humans and are found in the state throughout the year.
5. Northern Flickers
These woodpeckers have a wingspan of 54 cm and weigh about 120 gm. Unlike other woodpeckers, these birds do not drill into trees, rather they peck the ground to hunt for insects, fruits and seeds. Northern Flickers are covered in brown tones with black spots on their backs and cream-coloured chests. This is the primary reason they are listed as birds with red on their heads. These birds are highly adaptable and are found in the state, throughout the year.
6. Red-Headed Woodpecker
The red-headed woodpeckers are common woodpecker species found in Colorado and Michigan with a beautiful crimson coloured head. Due to their impressive wingspan which can extend upto 43 cm, they prefer to catch their food mid-air, instead of hunting for it in tree trunks. They have black and white patterned wings and are often called “flying checkerboards” These birds are guests of the state during winter months and their breeding season when they like to dwell in orchards and forests of Michigan.
7. Lewis’s Woodpecker
Lewis’s Woodpeckers are crow-like woodpeckers. While flying, they mimic the mannerisms of crows while slowly flapping their wings mid-flight, unlike other woodpeckers. These Woodpeckers have a crimson face, dark green back and pink underbellies. These woodpeckers also have a grey ring around their necks. Like Red-Headed Woodpeckers, Lewis’s Woodpeckers, also catch insects while flying. They prefer to dwell in pine forests and other wooded habitats. They are quite rare in Michigan and can only be found in the late spring or summer months.
8. Yellow-Bellied Sapsuckers
These woodpeckers have black and white plumage, with distinct red on their throats. As their name suggests, they have yellow feathers on their underbellies. Additionally, male Yellow-Bellied Sapsuckers have a red patch on their throat. They are small to medium-sized birds with wingspan extending to 38 cm. They are known for drilling uniformly into trees to create sap wells from which they feed. They are seen in northern Michigan in summer and in southern Michigan during the winter months.
9. Black-Backed Woodpecker
With a wingspan of 16 inches and a weight of 70 gm, Black-Backed Woodpeckers are a robin-sized woodpecker species. They have white underbellies, and black and white stripes running down their side. The black backs of these woodpeckers, combined with their small size help them camouflage in trees quite easily. Male Black-backed types of woodpeckers have a yellow cap that differentiates them from their female counterparts. They prefer to dwell in burnt forests where they have a greater chance of finding wood-boring insects by tearing off pieces of tree barks with their strong beaks. Black-Backed Woodpeckers are rare to spot but can be found occasionally, in the Northern Peninsula of the state.
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