7 Woodpeckers in Ohio (Pictures, ID Guide, and Common Locations)

Hairy woodpecker bird on a log
© K Quinn Ferris/Shutterstock.com

Written by Nixza Gonzalez

Updated: July 19, 2023

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Ohio has endless bird-watching opportunities, including along Lake Erie. You can also visit one of the many state parks in Ohio. Bring a pair of binoculars and you’re in for a treat! Did you know that there are about seven frequent woodpeckers in Ohio? These unique and loud birds are easy to spot and hear because of their wood-pecking abilities. But which one’s can you see? Do you recognize any on our list? Follow along to learn more about seven woodpeckers in Ohio.

Picture graph of 7 Woodpeckers in Ohio
Ohio has 7 woodpeckers that are easy to find for birdwatchers, if they follow the loud pecking sounds!

Hairy Woodpeckers

The first woodpecker on our list is the hairy woodpecker. They are found throughout North America. Hairy woodpeckers are long black, brown, and white birds. They have a wingspan of around 13 to 17 inches. They are about 7 to 10 inches long and weigh 1.4 to 3.4 ounces. Hairy woodpeckers mainly live in mature deciduous forests. They live throughout the Bahamas, Canada, Mexico, the United States, Nicaragua, and El Salvador. Currently, experts recognize about seventeen subspecies.

Hairy woodpeckers have a high-pitched call that resembles a squeak. They spend a lot of time on trees, pecking to look for insects. The bulk of their diet is insects, but they also eat fruits and nuts. You won’t have to look far and wide for a hairy woodpecker in Ohio. You can see them all year-round and live in wooded areas. Hairy woodpeckers look similar to downy woodpeckers, but they are larger. In Ohio, they are common in farm areas and mature forests.

A hairy woodpecker in the snow

Hairy woodpeckers weigh about 1.4 to 3.4 ounces.


Downy Woodpeckers

The next bird on our list of woodpeckers in Ohio is the downy woodpecker, which closely resembles the hairy woodpecker. Downy woodpeckers are about two-thirds the size of a hairy woodpecker. Downy woodpeckers are small birds native to deciduous forests in North America. They are the smallest woodpecker species in North America. Downy woodpeckers have black and white feathers. Males though have a red spot on the back of their heads. They weigh up to one ounce and have wingspans up to 11.8 inches long.

Downy woodpeckers are very active birds. During winter when feeding, they dive quickly to catch insects. Downy woodpeckers are also loud birds. These tiny woodpeckers don’t just inhabit forests or woods though, you can also find them in neighborhoods, city parks, and alongside roads.

Downy woodpeckers are agile birds.


Pileated Woodpeckers

Pileated woodpeckers also live in Ohio, but they are easy to distinguish from downy and hairy woodpeckers. These woodpeckers are large and slender. They are insectivores native to North America. You can find them in deciduous forests in eastern North America, near the Great Lakes, and along the Pacific coast. Pileated woodpeckers are about 16 to 19 inches long with a 26 to 30-inch wingspan. They also weigh between 7.9 to 14.1 ounces. Male pileated woodpeckers are slightly larger.

Pileated woodpeckers are black with red crests. They also have white lines on their heads that you can see on their wings while in flight. The easiest way to tell apart male and female pileated woodpeckers is by the color of the line down their throats. Males have a red line from the bill to the throat. In Ohio, pileated woodpeckers are everywhere. One of the best places to spot a pleated woodpecker is the Oak Openings Preserve Metropark. It’s a 5,000 acre park featuring vast prairies and old oak trees. Apart from pileated woodpeckers, you may encounter indigo buntings, whippoorwills, or bluebirds.

Pileated Woodpecker Nest in Florida

Pileated woodpeckers can weigh up to 14.1 ounces.

©iStock.com/Harry Collins

Red-bellied Woodpeckers

The fourth bird on our list of woodpeckers in Ohio is the red-bellied woodpecker. They are medium-sized birds native to the eastern United States. You can find them from Florida, all the way up to Canada. Red-bellied woodpeckers are light grey birds, with vibrant plumage. They typically have a red cap or patch. Male red-bellied woodpeckers have a red cap at the back of their heads reaching their bill, while females have a red patch on their nape and above the bill. As their name suggests, they have reddish bellies, however; they are difficult to spot from afar.

Red-bellied woodpeckers are about 9 to 10.5 inches long with a wingspan between 15 to 18 inches. These lovely birds are loud and have many calls. They also frequently drum, although males are louder. Red-bellied woodpeckers are omnivores that consume berries, nuts arthropods, and insects. Like other woodpeckers, they nest in old trees or stumps.

Red-Bellied Woodpecker Perched on a Branch

Red-bellied woodpeckers live throughout eastern North America from Florida, to Canada.


Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers

Another woodpecker you can find in Ohio is the yellow-bellied sapsucker. These lovely birds are mainly found throughout Canada and the United States. They breed in Canada and the northeastern United States, but winter in the eastern United States, Central America, and the West Indies. They are medium-sized birds, about 7 to 8.5 inches long. The average weight of a yellow-bellied sapsucker is 1.77 ounces, but it can weigh as much as 2.2 ounces. These lovely birds have a large wingspan about twice their length. Their wingspan can reach a little over 15 inches long.

Yellow-bellied sapsuckers have red foreheads. Males are more vibrant. Although uncommon, some yellow-bellied sapsuckers have yellow foreheads. These lovely birds also have black stripes on their head and white and black feathers. As their name suggests, yellow-bellied sapsuckers have a yellow tinge. Male yellow-bellied sapsuckers are loud and have multiple calls. Interestingly, they drum on dead trees they don’t nest in. These birds are also relatively independent and hunt by themselves. However, in the winter, they sometimes join groups with other insectivores.

Yellow-belly sapsucker

Yellow-bellied sapsuckers are woodpeckers in Ohio.

©Glass and Nature/Shutterstock.com

Northern Flickers

The next woodpecker in Ohio on our list is the northern flicker. They are very different from the other woodpeckers on our list. Northern flickers are brown medium-sized woodpeckers native to parts of the Americas, including North America and Central America. You can also find these lovely migrating birds in Cuba and the Cayman Islands. Northern flickers have over 100 nicknames. People sometimes refer to these birds as gawker birds, yellowhammers, and harry-wickets

There are about ten recognized subspecies, however, one is extinct. The subspecies are divided into two general groups, the yellow-shafted group, and the red-shafted group. Northern flickers vary in size and color, however, they are usually brown with black bars. Southern yellow-shafted flickers have golden underwings, while western red-shafted flickers have red underwings. They are about 11 to 14 inches long with a wingspan as long as 21.5 inches. 

Male Northern Flicker

Northern flickers are large brown woodpeckers about 11 to 14 inches long with a wingspan as long as 21.5 inches.


Red-headed Woodpeckers

The last woodpecker on our list is the red-headed woodpecker, which looks very different from many other woodpeckers on this list. Red-headed woodpeckers are medium-sized birds living in temperate North America. They breed all over southern Canada and the east-central United States. Red-headed woodpeckers live year round in Ohio.

While they share a similar name to the red-bellied woodpecker, red-headed woodpeckers have bright scarlet heads. They are known for their white, black, and red plumage. Unlike other woodpeckers, females and males have the same coloration. They have dark black backs and tails and white bellies and rumps. Red-headed woodpeckers are 7.5 to 9.8 inches long with a wingspan of up to 16.7 inches. They also weigh about 2.7 ounces and as much as 3.4 ounces. Red-bellied woodpeckers aren’t picky eaters, but about two-thirds of their diet is made up of plants. However, they also consume small eggs, rodents, and insects.

Red-headed Woodpecker

Male and female red-headed woodpeckers have identical appearances.


Summary of the 7 Woodpeckers in Ohio

NameLength in InchesWingspan in Inches
Hairy Woodpecker7-1013-17
Downy Woodpecker11.810-12
Pileated Woodpecker16-1926-30
Red-bellied Woodpecker4-10.515-18
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker7-8.515
Northern Flicker11-1421.5
Red-headed Woodpecker7.5-9.816.7

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About the Author

Nixza Gonzalez is a writer at A-Z Animals primarily covering topics like travel, geography, plants, and marine animals. She has over six years of experience as a content writer and holds an Associate of Arts Degree. A resident of Florida, Nixza loves spending time outdoors exploring state parks and tending to her container garden.

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