What Kind of Woodpeckers Live in Michigan?

What Kind of Woodpeckers Live in Michigan?

Woodpeckers are common around the world, and there are over 300 species present as of today. There are plenty of birds in Michigan that you can find, but woodpeckers are one of the most interesting to see. 

You can find different kinds of woodpeckers in Michigan. Michigan woodpeckers can often be found on woodland swamps, suburban environments, lush forests, parks, and apple orchards. 

There are great spots to view woodpeckers in Michigan. You can go to the Lincoln Brick Park, Sleepy Hollow State Park, and the Old Mission Lighthouse Park. 

In this article, you will find the different species of Woodpeckers of Michigan and when and where to find them.

Downy Woodpecker, image

1. Downy Woodpecker

One of the smallest kinds of woodpeckers is the Downy Woodpecker. They are native to North America and loves to eat seeds and nuts. 

The Downy woodpecker can tolerate the cold of Michigan winter. They are one of the birds of Michigan that are abundant during the cold weather. Sometimes you can see them drink from hummingbird feeders.

You will often find these woodpeckers in dead trees, and they often peck at dead tree branches to find insects to eat. 

Downy woodpeckers often present themselves in colors of white and black and they often have white spots on their black wings. Male Downy woodpeckers usually have a red dot on their heads.

When to Find These Woodpeckers

.Not only are they abundant in winter, but also can be found throughout the seasons. Downy woodpeckers can be found on all seasons as they do not migrate and can handle cold weather easily.

Pileated Woodpecker, image

2. Pileated Woodpecker

Pileated woodpeckers are one of the biggest woodpeckers that you’ll find in North America. You can often find these woodpeckers when there are suet feeders. 

Often, these birds of Michigan has a shy personality, and they usually don’t want to be around humans.

These woodpeckers are often around dead tree stumps and branches and will excavate them to create their nests. 

Pileated woodpeckers also peck and drills on these stumps and branches to find insects such as the beetle, larva, termites, and ants to eat.

When to Find These Woodpeckers

If you’re wondering where to find Pileated woodpecker, Michigan has a lot of these birds as they are compatible with all seasons of the state.


Red-Headed Woodpecker, image

3. Red-Headed Woodpecker

Red-headed woodpeckers can be a beautiful bird to see. Unfortunately, these birds are becoming rarer as their population is in a steady decline. 

Red-Headed Woodpeckers often feed on seeds, berries, and insects like beetles. This woodpecker kind is known to be among the most skilled flycatchers among woodpeckers. 

Finding them is easy as they have bright red heads and black and white bodies.

When and Where to Find These Woodpeckers

Although they are attractive to see, they can be less common in the Michigan state. Red-Headed Woodpeckers are not usually seen at bird feeders and are most common in the breeding-only stage of cold Michigan climate. 

Michigan has a winter breeding stage, and this is where Red-headed Woodpeckers are many. It is rare that these birds of Michigan visit bird feeders, but when they do, they often dart to a tree to stash what food they could find.


Hairy Woodpecker, image

4. Hairy Woodpecker

Hairy woodpeckers look like the Downy kind because of their color and spots. They can be difficult to differentiate from the Downy, but Hair woodpeckers are larger and have longer and pointier beaks. They will often drill though dead tree branches and trunks.

When and Where to Find These Woodpeckers

These birds of Michigan can be found on all of Michigan’s season as they are very adaptable to the weather. 

They can be found even on the coldest weather in Michigan. You can easily find them at bird feeders and eats insects just like the Downy kind. They often like to find their food on large trees.

Red-Bellied Woodpecker, image

5. Red-Bellied Woodpecker

Red-Bellied Woodpeckers are larger than the Downy woodpeckers. You might confuse them with the Downy kind as they are similar in size with this kind. You might mistake them for Red-headed woodpeckers because they also have redheads. 

They are called Red-Bellied woodpeckers because of their pale red colored bodies. You can differentiate them from the Red-Headed kind by their mohawk-like red color on the back of their necks.

When and Where to Find These Woodpeckers

Red-Bellied woodpeckers can be found on all seasons of Michigan. You can often find these birds in wooded areas and suburban environments. 

Deciduous trees like oak and maple can house these woodpeckers. They can stay even in the winter as they are not migratory birds.

Northern Flicker, image

6. Northern Flicker

Northern Flickers are one of the unusual woodpeckers in Michigan as they do not peck or drill at trees that often. 

You will often see these birds feeding on the ground eating ants or any ground insects. They will only fly up to trees to interact with their same kind. Northern Flickers have white bodies with numerous black spots.

Their tails are also attractive as it is lined with bright yellow and their heads are tipped with red color. To recognize males, they have black marks on their cheeks that make it seem that they have a moustache.

When and Where to Find These Woodpeckers

Northern Flickers don’t have the capability to drill through the wood so they can be seen in pre-existing holes in trees. They can adapt to a range of climates so you can find them in all seasons.

American Three-toed Woodpecker, image

7. American Three-toed Woodpecker

One of the rarest in Michigan, the American Three-toed woodpecker is not a common bird to see. Often, these woodpeckers are calm and can stay still. They drill and peck at tree bark to get their food like insects.

They can be found on the north of Michigan and can handle cold climates easily. As their name suggests, they have unique three toes instead of the usual count of four in woodpeckers.

When and Where to Find These Woodpeckers

These woodpeckers can be found in the north of Michigan. They can adapt to cold climates well so you can expect to find these birds on all seasons of Michigan. Compared to other woodpecker species, the American Three-toed can be much harder to find.

Black-Backed Woodpecker, image

8. Black-Backed Woodpecker

A distinct characteristic of Black-Backed woodpecker is their yellow crown on their heads. They have white undersides with all black on top. 

For their food source, they fill dig through tree trunks to eat larvae, beetles, and other insects. You might mistake these birds from American Three-Toed woodpeckers because they have similar body colors.

Black-Backed woodpeckers do not utilize the same nest twice. They will find a new nest whenever they have a new breeding cycle. 

These woodpeckers in Michigan can also be helpful for all the bird species. When they create new nests, they also help nesting opportunities for other birds.

When and Where to Find These Woodpeckers

You will find these Black-Backed woodpeckers on the northern side of Michigan. You will find them on all seasons most noticeably on Lake Michigan. 

If you find any burnt forests in Michigan, you may find this kind of woodpeckers as that kind of place is their favourite spot to find insects to eat.

Lewis's Woodpecker

9. Lewis’s Woodpecker

The Lewis’s woodpecker is a special woodpecker that feeds on flying insects. They are a great flycatcher like no other woodpecker. 

They do not excavate insects but rather catch them on the fly. Even the way they fly is different from traditional woodpeckers. They fly like crows which glide slowly and has strong wingbeats. They are a kind of rare woodpecker Michigan birds.

The look of Lewis’s woodpeckers is also unique. They have pink undersides and a grey lining on their neck. Their back has a dark green color, and they also have a crimson face,

When and Where to Find These Woodpeckers

This woodpecker is actually considered as an “accidental bird” because they are not typically seen in the Michigan state. 

Since they are rare, you can only find them during early summer or late spring. Often you can find them in places where there are pine trees and lots of wood.

How Do You Attract Woodpeckers in Michigan?

Woodpeckers usually shy away from humans. They can be beautiful to see but hard to come by. You can attract woodpeckers near you by having a bird-friendly environment in your yard.


Use Particular Feeders

  • You can have feeders that are upright in order for a woodpecker to eat suet cakes comfortably. You can also have a tail-prop for your feeder as they usually contact trees with their feet and also the tail.


Have a Perching Space

  • Create houses or feeders that have tail props so that they can come back to your yard. Woodpeckers have zygodactyl feet which they use to firmly grip onto trees in a vertical position. Tail props give them proper structure when in an upright position.


Give Them The Right Treats

  • Woodpeckers love to eat sap, berries, peanuts, mealworms, and insects. They have a varied diet which includes nuts like acorns and pine and sunflower seeds. Suet cakes can attract woodpeckers when you surround it with peanuts, seeds, and nuts when placed in feeders.

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