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Photo © Rob Curtis / The Early Birder

Red-headed woodpecker

A black-and-white tuxedo fresh from the dry cleaners is never as crisp and clean as the black and white on this bird. They keep their white backpack starched clean all year long. What about the red head? All of our state’s male woodpeckers have some hint of red somewhere on their heads, allowing for many misidentified woodpeckers. The red-headed woodpecker truly has an entirely red head, like an ice cream cone dipped in a red candy shell. Young are born in spring or early summer and, once fledged, have all-gray heads that change into red during their first February or March. By April, the entire family is red-headed and are such look-alikes that, to our eyes, males cannot be differentiated from females.


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