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image of a woodpecker
11/28/2022 5 minute read

Habitat of the Woodpecker

Woodpeckers are animals whose natural talent never grows old. Their wood-pecking ability will remain intact even as they age. The fact that they can continue to use this skill even as they age is one of the many reasons why woodpeckers are such amazing creatures. There are over 300 woodpecker…

Woodpeckers are animals whose natural talent never grows old. Their wood-pecking ability will remain intact even as they age. The fact that they can continue to use this skill even as they age is one of the many reasons why woodpeckers are such amazing creatures.

There are over 300 woodpecker species in the world. Twenty of these species reside in the American continent, while others spread throughout Europe, Asia, and Africa. These species belong to the family Picidae, which contains other birds such as jaybirds, piculets, wrynecks, and cuckoos.

We already know woodpeckers because of their intriguing resistance to all the head shaking. But do you know what kind of habitat these birds live in? Let’s discuss the woodpecker habitat!

Habitat requirements

You first need to know that woodpeckers mainly exist in forests. This is because they need trees to fulfill their primary needs: food and shelter.

Woodpeckers mostly eat insects, especially those that bore into the trunks of trees. These include ants, beetles, termites, and wood-boring larvae. To find these insects, woodpeckers use their long tongues to probe into the crevices of tree bark.

When it comes to shelter, woodpeckers need trees for nesting and roosting. Most woodpeckers excavate holes in dead trees or branches. The entrance to the nest site is usually small and round, just big enough for the bird to enter.

The type of tree a woodpecker lives in depends on the species. Some woodpeckers prefer deciduous trees, while others like coniferous trees. Deciduous trees, such as oak and maple, lose their leaves in winter. Coniferous trees have needles instead of leaves, such as pine and fir trees.

Woodpeckers also need forests because they use tree trunks to sharpen their beaks. This is important because a woodpecker’s beak can get dull from all the pecking.

Woodpecker Habitats

Woodpeckers live in a variety of habitats. And there, they forage for food, build their shelter, search for mates, and multiply. Through their living environments, they can thrive and continue their species. Their habitats are just as important as their lives.

Let’s take a look at their preferred environments.

  • Savannahs

A savanna or savannah is a combination of woodland and grassland. These areas usually have very few trees and a lot of grass. Woodpeckers that live in savannahs adapt to hot, dry conditions.

You may find a few woodpecker species inhabiting these environments. This includes species like the red-headed woodpecker (Melanerpes erythrocephalus) and pileated woodpecker (Dryocopus pileatus).

  • Scrublands

Also called shrublands, scrublands are habitats that have mostly shrubs, bushes, and very few trees. These areas are usually dry and can be found in deserts or near the coasts. Herbs, geophytes, and grasses dominate this community of plants.

  • Woodlands

Woodlands are habitats with a lot of trees and very little grass. The trees in these habitats can be deciduous or coniferous. Woodlands can be found worldwide, from temperate to tropical climates.

Many species exist in these habitats. This includes the acorn woodpecker (Melanerpes formicivorus), hairy woodpecker (Leuconotopicus villosus), downy woodpecker (Dryobates pubescens), green woodpecker (Picus viridis), yellow-bellied sapsuckers (Sphyrapicus varius).

  • Grasslands

Grasslands are habitats that have mostly grass and very few trees or scattered trees. These areas exist in temperate and tropical regions. These lands are areas and regions with insufficient water or rainfall to support tree growth.

  • Deserts

Deserts are habitats with very little rainfall. These areas are dry and usually situated in tropical or subtropical regions. While it seems unexpected, many animals exist in the deserts. This includes the fennec fox, sandy cat, bats, cougars, and especially woodpeckers.

You may meet the Gila woodpecker (Melanerpes uropygialis) inhabiting these sandy regions.

  • Bamboo forests

As the name suggests, bamboo forests are habitats with mostly bamboo plants. These forests stand in the alpine climatic and tropical zones of Central and South America, Africa, and Asia. Tall bamboo surrounds these forests. But these are not trees. Bamboos are grasses that can grow up to 30 meters tall! And they are considered invasive species in some countries.

Global distribution

Woodpeckers exist on every continent except the regions of New Guinea and Australia. They range in abundance in South America and Southeast Asia.

Woodpeckers spend their entire lives in the same area or habitat. They don’t migrate like other birds. The only time they leave their homes is to find a mate. After they find a mate, they build their nests and raise their young in the same area.

But every rule has an exemption, of course. A few species from the temperate zones exhibit migratory behavior. This includes the North American yellow-bellied sapsucker (Sphyrapicus varius) and the flicker (genus Colaptes).

Even though woodpeckers are found worldwide, some species are endangered. This is because of deforestation and loss of habitat. To save these fantastic birds, we must protect their homes.

Need Help with Woodpeckers?

The most common nuisance woodpeckers can leave on your property is the unpleasant traces of their drilling on your sidings. These include holes, chipped paint, and piles of wood shavings on the ground.

These damages can be unsightly and difficult to repair. If you need help getting rid of woodpeckers, call AAAC Wildlife Removal. We will be more than happy to help you solve your problem.

Final Thoughts

Woodpeckers are amazing creatures. They play an essential role in the ecosystem and are fun to watch! Their ability to peck makes them one of the most exciting bird species.

The savannahs, scrublands, woodlands, grasslands, deserts, and bamboo forests become suitable homes for these creatures. While spotting these creatures for some can be common, most woodpecker species can be extremely rare for some areas and regions. So, take time to appreciate woodpeckers when you meet them. And when they cause damage and get in your way, call a wildlife professional.

To learn more about woodpecker habitats and their nesting behavior, click here: woodpecker habitat. Understanding their preferred habitats can help create a more conducive environment for these fascinating birds.

If you encounter woodpecker-related issues or need assistance with their removal, contact AAAC Wildlife Removal. Our team of experts can provide effective solutions and ensure the well-being of both you and the woodpeckers.


Does the Ivory-billed woodpecker still exist?

The Ivory-billed woodpecker (Campephilus principals) is one of the largest members of woodpeckers in the world. It was once found in the southeastern United States and Cuba. But due to habitat loss and deforestation, it has faced extinction.

When is the woodpecker breeding season?

The woodpecker breeding season generally starts in late April and early May. During this time, they excavate nest cavities or nest holes. They usually prefer dying trees or dead parts of live trees. They use twigs and dead leaves for their nest cavity and lay 3-10 eggs. These eggs will hatch into chicks 12 to 17 days after being incubated by the male and female woodpecker.

What do woodpeckers eat?

Woodpeckers are primarily insectivorous. This means that their diet consists mainly of insects. Additionally, they consume fruits, nuts, acorns, berries, and sap from trees.

What do woodpeckers look like?

Woodpeckers differ in size depending on the species. They have stout bodies, long necks, and short legs. They also have a long, stiff tail that they use for balance. And, of course, they have beaks or bills specially designed for drilling into wood. Their plumage or feathers are usually black, white, or both. Some species also have red feathers on their heads.