There isn’t another bird as unique as woodpeckers in Maryland. Woodpeckers are members of the family Picidae, and it is easy to distinguish them because of how they hammer into the sides of trees in search of insects and larvae to eat.
You can find numerous kinds of woodpeckers throughout North America; however, for this article, we will concentrate on the seven species of woodpeckers in Maryland.
Every state in the United States, including Maryland, provides many opportunities to observe these vibrant and fascinating woodpeckers in their natural habitats.
Please continue reading to find out more information on the characteristics of these wonderful birds.
List of Woodpeckers in Maryland
1. Pileated Woodpecker
- Length: 15-19 inches
- Weight: 8-12 oz
- Wingspan: 26-29 inches
The Pileated Woodpecker is the largest species of woodpeckers in Maryland and is almost the same size as an American Crow.
They have brilliant red, triangular crests that sit atop their heads and the black and white plumage that covers the rest of their bodies. When they are in the air, you can easily see the big white patches on the undersides of their wings.
You can see them in large gatherings throughout the year in Maryland, and while they prefer older forests with a mix of deciduous and coniferous trees, they can also thrive in dense forests.
In order to forage for carpenter ants and other types of insects, they need access to decaying and decomposing wood, such as downed trees and logs.
If you want to determine whether or not they exist in the region, look for holes of a specific rectangular shape. Their one-of-a-kind holes offer refuge to a variety of other animals, such as bats and owls.
2. Hairy Woodpecker
- Length: 7-10 inches
- Weight: 1.4-3 oz
- Wingspan: 13-16 inches
It is simple to confuse larger Hairy Woodpeckers with the more common Downy Woodpeckers. They both have black and white plumage, but Hairy Woodpeckers are roughly a third larger than Downy Woodpeckers and have longer bills that are about the same length as their heads. Both woodpeckers in Maryland have extremely similar patterns.
Both species of woodpecker are frequently seen in the exact locations, even though Hairy Woodpeckers require larger trees and do not get spotted easily. However, You can still spot the Hairy Woodpeckers in Maryland during the entire year.
Hairy Woodpeckers take advantage of their longer and stronger bills to dig into trees in search of insects, which are their principal source of nutrition.
Downy Woodpeckers, on the other hand, have a greater variety of foraging alternatives available to them. It is possible to spot them in the majority of forests and woodlands by listening to their distinctive tapping and “peek” noises.
The Downy Woodpecker and the Hairy Woodpecker are two types of woodpeckers in Maryland that can be difficult to differentiate. Field guides can point out the unique traits that allow for this.
3. Yellow-Bellied Sapsucker
- Length: 7-8.7 inches
- Weight: 1.5-1.8 oz
- Wingspan: 13-15 inches
On your next excursion into the great outdoors, if you come across trees with uniformly spaced holes bored into them, you may be in the presence of a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker.
These woodpeckers in Maryland use the points on their bills to drill into the bark of trees, and then they use their tongues, which have bristles, to extract the sap that has become trapped inside.
Other animals such as hummingbirds and even bats utilize this hole and come to feed on the sap collected there. Birches and maples appear to be Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers’ preferred tree species; there have been instances where they have bored holes in over 1,000 different kinds of trees.
During the months they are not breeding, Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers typically reside in Maryland. However, they have a relatively limited migration range, and some birds only travel a few states north into New England when they leave their breeding grounds. Other species of sapsucker will continue northward, breeding in Canada.
You can count on seeing them rather frequently in Maryland during the wintertime. Be on the lookout for a motionless bird with black and white face stripes and a red patch on its head, and keep an ear out for their distinctive call, which sounds like a “mew.”
4. Red-Headed Woodpecker
- Length: 7-9 inches
- Weight: 2-3 oz
- Wingspan: 16.2 inches
Although Red-headed Woodpeckers used to be ubiquitous throughout the eastern United States, their population size has significantly shrunk in recent years, and they are now much less frequent.
However, these woodpeckers in Maryland stay throughout the entire year. These woodpeckers have brilliant red heads, black spots on their shoulders and backs, and dazzling white underparts. They also have black patches on their tails.
Their drumming sound while pecking at trees for food and their brilliant plumage make them easy to recognize.
The Red-headed Woodpecker is distinct from other species of woodpeckers in that, in addition to feeding on beech nuts and acorns, it also engages in aerial bug hunting.
In order to ensure that they have enough food for the entire winter, they will even store extra provisions in the cavities and holes of trees. They are one of only four other woodpeckers in Maryland that exhibit this particular behavior.
5. Red-Bellied Woodpecker
- Length: 8- 9.2 inches
- Weight: 2.0-3.2 oz
- Wingspan: 13-16 inches
Keep an eye out for Red-bellied Woodpeckers in various woodlands and forests, particularly those that contain young and old hardwood ephemeral trees and pines.
People see these woodpeckers in Maryland during the entire year, and there is a possibility that their population is gradually growing.
This could be because they are able to adapt to a variety of settings and climates, in addition to the fact that they are omnivorous and take advantage of any food source.
Red-bellied Woodpeckers, just like their more famous relatives, the Red-headed Woodpeckers, hoard food to get them through the winter.
In spite of their name, their coloring is actually pretty light for the most part; nonetheless, the red on the tops of their heads is rather noticeable and draws attention to itself.
Their backs are distinctly marked with black and white stripes, and when they are in flight, patches of white appear towards the tips of their wings.
6. Northern Flicker
- Length: 11-12.2 inches
- Weight: 3.7-5.6 oz
- Wingspan: 16-20.1 inches
The black and white patterning typical of other species of woodpeckers in Maryland, including the Red-headed and Hairy Woodpeckers, is noticeably absent from the plumage of Northern Flickers.
They have black dots, bars, and crescents patterned all over their chests and undersides, giving them an overall grayish brown coloration. They are indeed one of the birds seen in North America with the most vibrant colors.
Flickers in Maryland have yellow feathers on their tails, whereas flickers in the western regions of the country have red feathers on their tails.
In contrast to the majority of woodpeckers in Maryland, which often perch in trees and peck into the bark of those trees, Northern Flickers habitually enjoy sitting directly on the ground, where they use their beak to dig for ants and beetles, and other minute insects.
However, in addition to nuts and berries, they consume tree insects, just like other species of woodpeckers.
You can observe these woodpeckers in Maryland throughout the year and easily spot them in most of the state’s woodlands, particularly those that contain open fields and spaces. If you want to know if these birds are around, you should listen for a ringing call.
7. Downy Woodpecker
- Length: 5-6.7 inches
- Weight: 0.7-1.0 oz
- Wingspan: 9.8-11.8 inches
The Downy Woodpecker is the smallest species of woodpeckers in Maryland and is also the smallest species of woodpecker found in North America.
They have the same general appearance as larger woodpeckers, with blocky heads and erect stances when perched on the sides of trees. Still, their bills are proportionately more diminutive and more chiseled in appearance.
Downy woodpeckers, much like many other species of woodpeckers, have a primarily black and white appearance, with a minuscule dot of brilliant red on the crowns of their heads.
They call a wide variety of environments, such as woods, woodlands, open spaces, and residential areas, their home and are rather numerous and ubiquitous over the region they occupy.
Because of their diminutive stature, they are able to forage in trees as well as in tall weeds and grasses.
They are the species of woodpecker most likely to visit backyard feeders since they devour a substantial amount of plant material in addition to nuts and berries.
It is possible to view downy woodpeckers in Maryland throughout the whole year; thus, putting out food for them, such as suet blocks, sunflower seeds, or peanuts, is an excellent method to boost the likelihood of seeing one.