This woodpecker has a black and white zebra-like pattern on its back and a red neck. Males have red on the crowns of their heads, while females do not.
As it name implies, there is a red patch edged with yellow on the belly, but it is often hidden from view as the bird perches or feeds against a tree trunk.
Unlike most birds, Red-bellied Woodpeckers have a zygodactyl toe arrangement. What the heck does that mean, you ask? Answer: Two toes face forward and two face backward. This enables the woodpecker to grasp the bark of tree trunks as it looks for food.
These birds tend to live in old forests with large hardwood trees. Their nests are built in cavities carved into tree trunks.
Red-bellied woodpeckers have been seen playing. They play by flying and dodging around trees as if they were trying to escape a predator.
Male woodpeckers do not sing well, so they use another strategy to appeal to potential mates. In the Spring, woodpeckers are especially attracted to any sound that resonates, including aluminum shed roofs and even the hoods of cars. These birds often utilize man-made objects to get the word out.
They eat a wide variety of fruits, nuts, seeds, berries and tree sap, as well as insects. They are frequent visitors to bird feeders – including mine.