All About The Red Headed Woodpecker (Melanerpes Erythrocephalus)
The Red Headed Woodpecker (Melanerpes erythrocephalus)
The red headed woodpecker (Melanerpes erythrocephalus) is a small or medium-sized woodpecker from temperate North America. Their breeding habitat is open country across southern Canada as well as the eastern-central United States.
It can be easily recognized by its vibrant black, white, as well as red plumage. It has brilliant red plumes on its head, throat, and also neck. Its breast plumes are white are separated from the red plumes by a thin black border. The stomach, under tail plumes (coverts), as well as rump is white.
The tail, back, and also upper wing plumes (coverts) are black. Its internal flight feathers (secondaries) are white. They contrast with the external flight feathers (primaries) which are black. This coloration forms a white patch on the internal wing that is striking in flight.
Red-headed woodpeckers inhabit open upland as well as wetland forested areas. Forested areas that contain dead or partially dead trees, as well as sparse undergrowth, are preferred. This type of habitat is typically created by disturbances such as flooding, fire, or insect outbreaks. A sparse understory is favored for foraging.
During the begin of the breeding season, the red headed woodpecker move from forest interiors to forest edges or disturbed areas. Wherever they breed, dead or partly dead trees for nest cavities are an important part of their habitat.
In the northern part of their winter range, the red headed woodpecker live in mature stands of forest, especially oak-hickory, maple, oak, ash, and also beech. In the southern part, they live in pine as well as pine-oak. The red headed woodpecker inhabit similar habitats throughout the year.
The red headed woodpecker are fierce defenders of their territory. They might remove the eggs of other species from nests as well as nest boxes, destroy other birds nests, and even go into duck nest boxes as well as puncture the duck eggs.
The red headed woodpecker does not act quite like most other woodpeckers, they’re adept at catching insects in the air, as well as they eat lots of acorns and also beechnuts, typically hiding away extra food in tree crevices for later. You’ll discover this red headed woodpecker in grove, open woodland, farmland, and also shade tree. Typical bird east of the Rockies.
The red headed Woodpecker is one of only 4 North American woodpeckers known to store food, as well as it is the only one known to cover the stored food with bark or wood. It hides insects and also seeds in cracks in wood, under bark, in fence posts, as well as under roof shingles. Grasshoppers are typically stored alive, however, wedged into crevices so tightly that they could not run away.
In addition, the red headed woodpecker measures about 7.5 to 9.5 inches long, with a wingspan of 16.5 inches and also weighing in at between 56 to 95 grams. The red headed woodpecker maximum longevity in the wild is 9 years, 11 months old.
Diet of The Red Headed Woodpecker
The red headed woodpecker is considered to be an omnivore. They eat both plants as well as animal matter. Red headed Woodpecker will eat insects, spiders, fruit, berries, earthworms, nuts, seeds, and also corn. Their insect’s diet includes beetles, honey bees, midges, cicadas, and also grasshoppers, they occasionally raid bird nests to eat eggs as well as nestlings, they also eat mice and also occasionally adult birds.
The red headed woodpecker diet is varied by the seasons. They mostly eat animal matter in the spring as well as summer season and also plant matter in the fall as well as winter season. Red headed woodpecker typically catch aerial insects by spotting them from a perch on a tree limb or fence post and after that flying out to grab them. They store food that is occasionally covered up for later consumption.
The red headed woodpecker is known to pin live insects, like grasshoppers, into tree crevices. Red headed woodpecker forage on the ground as well as up to 30 feet above the forest floor in the summer season, whereas in the cooler months they forage higher in the trees. In the winter season, acorns are collected and also stored within tree crevices as well. These woodpeckers vigilantly defend their food caches from potential thieves, which include blue jays, crows, as well as other woodpeckers.
What is the Gestation Period of Red Headed Woodpecker?
At the beginning of the breeding season, male as well as female red headed woodpecker work together to build a nest, though the male does most of the excavation. He typically begins with a crack in the wood, digging out a gourd-shaped cavity typically in 12-17 days.
The cavity is about 3-5 inches wide as well as 8-14 inches deep. The entrance hole is about 3 inches in diameter. The male chooses a site for a nest hole, the female might tap around it, possibly to signal her approval. They nest cavities are located at varying heights in dead trees or tree limbs of live trees.
The female lays 3 to 7 white eggs in a cavity excavated 5 to 80 feet above the ground. Both male as well as female share incubation which last about 2 Week. The young red headed woodpecker is able to leave the nest 30 days after hatching and also are typically driven away by the adults that are starting the second brood.
How to Build a Birdhouse For The Red Headed Woodpecker?
The recommended dimensions for red headed woodpecker birdhouse are 6″ x 6″ (floor), 14″ (distance from the floor to ceiling), 2″ (entrance hole diameter), 11″ (distance from the floor to the top). Ventilation opening must be placed on the floor as well as under the roof. Wood chips should be littered on the floor for a natural cavity feel. Birdhouse must be mounted out of reach about 8 feet or higher, on trees discovered in a clearing or on woodland edges.
Desirable red headed woodpecker birdhouse features include:
- Thick walls constructed of untreated wood for insulation.
- Holes for ventilation and also drainage.
- An extended and also sloped roof to keep out the rain.
- A baffle to keep out raccoons, snakes, and also other predators that steal eggs and chicks.