Last Updated: October 28, 2022
You'll know there are woodpeckers in your backyard before you see them.
Their loud drumming noise tells you who's the boss of dead tree trunks in your backyard.
When birding in a conservation area, if it has hardwoods, woodpeckers are probably there.
So, where can you spot Wisconsin woodpeckers? Before I answer that, I'll tell you the types of woodpeckers in Wisconsin so can ID the ones you see during your birding tour.
- The 8 Woodpeckers Of Wisconsin (How To ID Them)
- The Best Places To Spot WI Woodpeckers
- Popular Questions About Woodpeckers In Wisconsin
- In Conclusion
The 8 Woodpeckers Of Wisconsin (How To ID Them)
The Red-headed Woodpecker
Further, the red-headed woodpecker’s underparts are white, while its back is blue-black.
This bird is about eight inches long, and you can spot it in many areas of the state throughout the year. It loves eerie habitats like the foliage of a burnt forest and dead trees. Additionally, it feeds on insects.
The Red-Bellied Woodpecker
It has a tan that gives it its name. You can also tell it apart from other woodpeckers in this state because of its barred black and white stripes that look almost like a zebra pattern.
To ID the male and female red-bellied woodpeckers, look at their heads. The male's forehead has a distinct red color that runs down to the crown and the nape. In contrast, only the female's nape is red.
The Red-bellied woodpecker prefers humid forests with pine and hardwood trees, where it gets a generous supply of fruits and seeds. It rarely hunts insects in trees.
We move on to another woodpecker, the smallest you'll see in this state. I'm talking about:
The Downy Woodpecker
It's just six inches long with black and white plumage. This bird loves suet; thus, you don't have to leave your most comfortable seat in the house to see it.
You may confuse it with another resident of WI:
The Hairy Woodpecker
When looking at pictures of woodpeckers in Wisconsin, you can distinguish it from the downy woodpecker by comparing the two bills.
This bird is only a few inches bigger than the downy woodpecker, and they both have the same black and white plumage. You may also spot it on your bird feeder.
Onto the first migratory bird on our list:
The Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
It has yellowish or whitish underparts that give it its name. When you spot a yellow-bellied sapsucker, look at its crown and throat to differentiate a female and male sapsucker.
The Black-Backed Woodpecker
It's a rare species in this state, so you might enjoy a few birding tours before you spot it.
But, the crown of the female black-backed woodpecker is black.
The Pileated Woodpecker
Like the black-backed woodpecker with its yellow crown, the pileated bird also introduces another colorful element - a red crest that looks like a mohawk.
Black dominates its plumage, and black and white stripes run across its face to the neck.
The Northern Flicker
It's not very big; it's between 11 and 12 inches long. Two features will prove that you're looking at a Northern flicker:
Plus, it has a black bib, black spots on its belly, and a barred back.
FYI: If you still haven't satisfied your fill for woodpeckers, then proceed to read the types of woodpeckers in Florida!
I promised to highlight a few birding destinations that are home to woodpeckers. Do you have a pen and paper? It's time to note down the following:
The Best Places To Spot WI Woodpeckers
We'll name a few places you can add to your birding calendar, starting with:
Necedah National Wildlife Refuge
Since red-headed woodpeckers inhabit burnt forests and restored savannah vegetation, they like this refuge. It's a diverse ecosystem with hardwood forests, oak savannas, and shrub swamps.
Goose Pond Sanctuary
It's one of the few places to see the pileated woodpecker, which this sanctuary added to its list of birds in 2017.
Brule River State Forest
You'll spot the black-backed woodpecker in the coniferous bogs where they inhabit cedar, spruce, and alder trees.
Pleasant Valley Conservancy State Natural Area
Its lush oak savannah is home to the red-headed woodpeckers.
Rush River Delta SNA
You'll find red-headed woodpeckers in this area's floodplain forest.
Nicolet National Forest
It's a rich ecosystem with lakes, swamps, and bogs. The black-backed woodpecker lives here all year round, enjoying the unadulterated cedar and alder forests.
Wyalusing State Park
It's a nesting ground for birds, so you may spot the pileated woodpecker looking for dead hardwoods in which to build nests.
Popular Questions About Woodpeckers In Wisconsin
What Kind Of Woodpeckers Are In Wisconsin?
You'll spot eight woodpeckers of Wisconsin. These include the tiny downy woodpecker, its close cousin, the hairy woodpecker, and the stunning red-headed woodpecker.
Here's how to identify their rare species:
Can You Shoot Woodpeckers In Wisconsin?
No, it's illegal to shoot these birds even if they're giving you sleepless nights with their drumming. The 1918 Federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act prohibits even capturing them unless you have a federal permit. The U.S Fish and Wildlife Service authorizes activities involving migratory birds, so that's where you can get a permit.
Do Wisconsin Woodpeckers Migrate?
Some of the woodpeckers migrate -- these are the Northern flicker and the yellow-bellied sapsucker.
You'll enjoy the search for woodpeckers in WI because you have eight types to see. Some, such as the downy and hairy woodpeckers, have almost similar physical characteristics. But, they both frequent bird feeders, where you can take your time to ID each bird.
Others, such as the pileated woodpecker, are elusive; therefore, you'll go into hardwood forests to look for them in nests built in dead tree trunks. Are you up to the challenge?