Missouri Woodpeckers

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Published on: Nov. 2, 1999

Last revision: Nov. 4, 2010

to 13 days

  • young fledge in 27 to 30 days
  • call is a loud "kweer" or "kwee-arr," given in short series
  • drums softly in short bursts
  • Wood you care to know?

    • Red-headed woodpeckers are easy to identify because they are the only woodpecker in the eastern U.S. with a solid red head.
    • The males and females look alike.
    • Their young have brown heads that don't turn red until their first winter.
    • Red-headed woodpeckers have tried to adapt to modern landscapes; as large, towering trees became scarce, this species switched to using utility poles and cavities in buildings for nest sites.
    • Creosote-coated utility poles are lethal to eggs and young reared in them.
    • In winter, some individuals will migrate southward to areas where there is an abundance of acorns, which they often seal in cavities with splinters of wood.
    • This species is declining significantly in parts of its range.

    Northern Flicker (Colaptes auratus)

    Hard-nosed facts

    • common statewide
    • 12 inches in length
    • eats mostly ants; occasionally seeds, nuts and grain
    • lives in forests or in open areas with scattered trees
    • nests in cavities excavated in snags, poles, posts, buildings, banks and haystacks
    • female and male incubate five to eight eggs for 11 to 14 days
    • young fledge in 25 to 28 days
    • call is a long, loud, rapid "wik-wik-wik-wik" to "wik-a, wik-a" series
    • drums softly in regular bursts

    Wood you care to know?

    • Flickers are the only woodpeckers that frequently feed on open ground.
    • This species flashes white rump and bright yellow color on their wings and tail in flight.
    • Males have a black mustache that females lack.
    • They consume more ants than any other bird species.
    • Their old nest cavities are often used by other species, such as squirrels, eastern screech-owls and American kestrels.
    • Flickers are declining significantly in parts of their range.

    Pileated Woodpecker (Dryocopus pileatus)

    Hard-nosed facts

    • uncommon and localized in the southern two-thirds of the state
    • 17 inches in length
    • eats mostly insects, some fruit, acorns, nuts and sap
    • lives in deciduous and coniferous forests, woodlands, parks and suburbs
    • nests in cavities excavated in snags (often barkless)
    • female and male incubate four eggs for 15 to 18 days
    • young fledge in 26 to 28 days
    • call is slow, irregular or fast, from "a-wik, a-wik" to "wuk-wuk-wuk" series
    • drums loud and steady

    Wood you care to know?

    • Pileated woodpeckers

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