This roughly blue jay-sized woodpecker is misnamed; its reddest feature by far is the nape and head. The back is barred black and white, the bill is study and fairly long, and overall underneath the bird is a warm pale whitish tan. Females and juveniles have less red on the head.
The red-bellied woodpecker is a bark forager; it climbs up tree trunks using its tail for stability. It eats mostly insects but also nuts and seeds. In spring its insistent “squarks” become more frequent as mates pair up and begin to excavate a nest cavity in a dead tree. Like other woodpeckers, it flies in an undulating motion.
What brings it to the SBG?
Food, cover, nesting sites. In April 2014 a red-belly was seen and heard in the wooded area just at the top of the SBG. The tall deciduous trees rimming the garden provide food and nesting sites, while the Demonstration Gardens offer seeds of many native perennials.
When can I see it?