Central Park Birding Report

Red-Headed Woodpecker.

By Boysenberry45

Both of the woodpeckers in this post have red heads, but only the one above has the distinction of being called a Red-Headed Woodpecker. The one below is a Red-Bellied Woodpecker, named for the reddish blush on its belly, although its head is red, too. Are you confused yet?

Red-Bellied Woodpecker.

Both birds were seen in the Central Park Loch this past weekend, although it was the far less common “Red-Head” that drew the crowds and was once featured on a U.S. Postal stamp. Red-Headed Woodpeckers are monomorphic, which means that males and females are almost identical in appearance. Its head is pale brown when young and turns a brilliant, crimson color when fully mature. With any luck, our new visitors had a great weekend in Central Park and will stick around a while longer!

OUTDOORS | 15 comments | permalink
    1. UWS_lifer says:

      I love this new feature. Keep it up please!

      Best thing on West Side Rag since “Pupper West Side”.

      Let’s see the malcontents make this controversial or political…better yet, scratch that. I’m sure someone could find a way.:)

      • Lucy Rosborough says:

        I live in Concord MA and, as a former New Yorker, love reading the West Side Rag. We have Red Headed Woodpeckers pecking at our roof or gutters every morning to wake us up… Better than an alarm clock! So far, they haven’t done any damage. After pecking like mad, they or he, flies to the bird feeder and has a big meal!

        • West 90th Street Jeff says:

          Has anyone seen a pileated woodpecker yet in Central Park? It looks like a stretched out version of the red-bellied woodpecker so well captured in this report except that the pileated one sports a colorful red comb on its head, and the beak is somewhat longer.

    2. KaosFromLaos says:

      This is a lovely distraction.

    3. Jackie says:

      Yes! Love this bird report

    4. Pat Walsh says:

      I used to live on W 70th and never saw a Red Headed Woodpecker in CP. And now I live on a farm in Slippery Rock, Pa. and had one visit for three days this past weekend, but he/she never stays longer, if I’m lucky to see her/him at all. It is my favorite bird, and I marvel at its striking colors and flight display and patterns. So this recent sighting in CP is a real gift, and speaks volumes about it being a nice healthy habitat for birds in general. Hopefully, this sighting will provide contined enjoyment for birders and nature lovers!!

    5. LoveOurParks says:

      My understanding is that the redheaded woodpecker has been in decline for a number of years due to loss of nesting cavities in trees by invasive species such as the European starling.

      Wonderful feature! Thank you.

    6. Sherri Hannah says:

      I’m really enjoying your articles on your most recent viator’s to Central Park NY. I live in Northern Illinois & I had a male red headed woodpecker visit my bird feeder for a couple of weeks. Red bellied woodpeckers come all the time. My most recent viator’s are Northern flicker’s.

    7. Sb says:

      As a redhead myself… I approve! Lol
      Were these birds teased growing up as well and now everyone says they “love” the color? 😉

      Ps- really enjoy seeing these posts about the diverse birds we have in the city when most people just think of pigeons in nyc (slight exaggeration but the idea is there)

    8. Karen says:

      We are former UWS residents now living in Somers, NY. We have a red bellied woodpecker that visits our feeder frequently. Gorgeous bird!

    9. Trudi Pearl says:

      Despite the damage done to my house in PA, I love seeing this gorgeous creature. Thanks for the vivid color present in this photo.

      I live in Florida now and all I fear are gators. One walked down a street in our neighborhood two weeks ago as it is mating season. Not funny! I prefer woodpeckers!

    10. Debbie D. says:

      Interesting! Your ‘Red Bellied Woodpecker’ looks alot like our ‘Ladder Backed Woodpecker’ here in Texas:
      Also, we have what look like the same type of Blue Jays that make what is often called a ‘squeaky gate call’ and other birds fun to look for and watch!

    11. Bird lover says:

      As an avid bird lover, this report was a treat to read! I heard the red-headed was here but have not yet had the pleasure of seeing him. We have had a few (only one a season) in the past, but not every year. Hope we get more. BTW, I heard tonight that we also have ticks in Central Park now, so everyone beware.

    12. Carlos Reyes says:

      Great article. The thing with finding birds in the park, especially in the Ramble, is that without a map, people end up just getting lost. There is a map called The Map of Central Park that was made recently, by a local NYC arist and birder, made with birders/tree lovers in mind. It is on eBay, Ken Gibson, local NYC bird artist and publisher of ornithological works is the cartographer

    13. Park user says:

      The rest rooms near the Delacourt Theater have been closed for almost one month due to “maintenance”. I know that there are rest rooms in the ramble but they ar smaller and at peak times there are lines. Does anyone know what is going on and when the rest rooms will reopen?