Woodpeckers in Louisiana (6 Species with Pictures)

woodpeckers in iouisiana

There are only 6 confirmed species of woodpeckers that can be found in Louisiana.

These are:

  • Pileated Woodpecker
  • Hairy Woodpecker
  • Red-Bellied Woodpecker
  • Red-Headed Woodpecker
  • Red-Cockaded Woodpecker
  • Downy Woodpecker

Want to learn more? Take a look at the North American Guide to Woodpeckers

Louisiana is a state in the south east of America. This state has a subtropical climate, which means that Louisiana has long and hot summers.

The winters in the state are only short and mild. There are 25 different state parks across the state of Louisiana and only 3 different national parks.

Southern Louisiana is a popular spot for woodpeckers, though there is some debate as to what species can be found in the state.

Now, let’s have a look at each of the individual species of woodpeckers in detail.

Take a look at our article on How to Attract Woodpeckers?

What Woodpeckers can be seen in Louisiana?

Table of Contents

1. Red-bellied Woodpecker

Red-bellied Woodpecker


15-18 inches


2.65 ounces

Life Expectancy

12 years



These woodpeckers actually only have red feathers on both their bellies and their heads.

Black and white feathers form striping patterns down this woodpecker’s back.

These birds will usually make their nests in dense forest areas but can sometimes be seem in suburban forests.

Males will pick a site for the nest and begin to excavate it early on in the breeding season, their nests are usually in dead trees and trunks.

The first step of courting involves males tapping on their tree trunks from inside of the cavity to attract a female and if the female is interested, she will tap back.

They will make their nests in the same tree year after year but will often use a different cavity, they lay about 2-6 eggs per brood.

These birds are also very popular in Louisiana and can be seen in all regions of the state.

They can be seen throughout the year and most of these recorded sightings for this bird have been in the south east of the state.

2. Downy Woodpecker

Downy Woodpecker


3.27 to 4.13 inches


0.75 to 1 ounce

Life Expectancy

12 Years


Insects & Non-insect arthropods

These small woodpeckers have pale bellies and dark wings, they have a very small patch of red on their heads.

You will usually find this woodpecker in open woodland areas, if they are able to, they will nest in forests close to streams or rivers.

Males will try to attract females, this in the early spring months at the start of the breeding season, by flying between trees and fluttering their wings to look almost like a butterfly.

The breeding pairs nest together and will nest in either fully dead trees or in the dead parts of living trees.

With their wide range it is no surprise that these birds can be seen in all areas of the state of Louisiana.

They are also permanent residents of the state and are most active during their breeding seasons. Most of the recorded sightings of this bird have been in the south of the state.

3. Red-cockaded Woodpecker

Red-cockaded Woodpecker​


14 inches


1.5 ounces

Life Expectancy

16 years


Eggs, insects, nuts, seeds & fruit

These birds are covered almost completely in black and white feathers, despite what their name may suggest.

There is a small patch of red feathers on this woodpecker but only the males present them.

They prefer to make their nests in pine forests but have been known to nest in a variety of open woodland areas.

Rather than being solitary like lots of woodpeckers, these birds live in small families of two to five, but there is only one female per family.

There is one breeding pair in the group and they remain monogamous and mate for life. The other males help protect and defend their territories and the female.

These birds are year-round residents in the state of Louisiana.

They are not very common woodpeckers and their range only officially extends to the far east and far west areas of the state.

That being said, most of the recorded sightings of this bird appear to be in the central regions of the state.

4. Hairy Woodpecker

Hairy Woodpecker


15 inches


1.4 to 3.4 ounces

Life Expectancy

15 years


Wood-boring insects & tree sap

These woodpeckers have a medium-sized body, and they have a unique little orangey-red patch of feathers on top of their head.

They also have pale bellies and dark wings and backs. These birds will stay in the same tree for several years but will often hollow out a new cavity each year for their nests.

They like to nest in woodland areas, breeding pairs only have one brood a year that consists of 3-6 eggs.

As well as their courtship display, males have an aggressive display which they do to other males.

They raise their wings over their back and make a shrill cry to warn another individual that conflict may ensue.

They also have a unique courtship display for the females, but this and their other breeding behaviors have not been well studied.

These woodpeckers are year-round residents in almost every state, including the state of Louisiana.

They can be seen in all areas of the state but most of the recorded sightings of this bird have been in the central-southern areas of Louisiana.

5. Pileated Woodpecker

Pileated Woodpecker


26 to 30 inches


8.8 to 14.1 ounces

Life Expectancy

13 years


Fruit, nuts & insects

These woodpeckers have mostly dark feathered bodies and have a prominent display of red feather on top of their heads.

They also have bright white feathers on their necks. These birds make their nests in coniferous and mature areas of woodlands, and they are large for a woodpecker.

Their make their cavities in dead trees and trunks and make them rectangular in shape, which is not common for woodpeckers.

These birds remain monogamous and often breed for life. Pileated Woodpeckers are not allowed into a territory unless they are mated with the individual.

This means that many have to wait until a woodpecker dies and then move in to take their place.

These woodpeckers are most common in the eastern states, including all of Louisiana.

These birds are permanent residents in the state and have most commonly been sighted in southern and central areas of the state.

6. Red-headed Woodpecker

Red-headed Woodpecker


16 inches


2.5 ounces

Life Expectancy

9 Years


Insects & Berries

The Red-Headed Woodpecker’s bright red head is very noticeable against the trees.

The rest of this bird’s body is covered in both white and grey feathers. These birds are medium sized for a woodpecker.

Breeding pairs will make their nests in dense forest areas. Individuals will play a game of hide and seek with one another around a tree stump at the beginning of the mating season.

These pairs do not interact with each other outside of the breeding season, but they will often stay together for several years.

They are predated upon by a lot of different species, including larger birds and mammals.

To help defend themselves and their nests, both individuals of the breeding pair will help to deter predators.

These woodpeckers are year-round residents in the state of Louisiana.

They can also be found throughout all areas of the state and have had a lot of recorded sightings.

These woodpeckers have most commonly been seen in the north west of the state.


More Articles.

About Us

We are avid bird-watchers who recently retired, allowing us more time to travel the world. Fortunately, we have managed to visit numerous countries around Europe, Asia, and America. Watching and photographing birds has been a passion for many years and we are making the most of the extra time on our hands!