Red Cockaded Woodpecker
Red Cockaded Woodpecker
Photo credit: Marine L. Cpl Hacker
Red Cockaded sounds: FMNH-UF/Hardy


The Endangered Birds of Florida



The Red Cockaded Woodpecker
Picoides borealis


To begin: what is a Bird?

A Bird is a warm blooded, bipedal (two legs)

vertebrate (has a backbone) with feathers,

bills and wings and most can fly.

It lays eggs to reproduce and many theories have

it classified as a direct descendant of Dinosaurs,

dating back to the Jurassic period.

The Red Cockaded Woodpecker, so named for

the tiny spot of red on the heads of the males,

is about the size of a Cardinal.

Red Cockaded Woodpecker
A Red Cockaded Woodpecker
Photo credit:
Resourceful Communities


It once called nearly the entire Southeast old growth

Pine Forests home, but with the near total demise

of its habitat being diminished by 97%,

the Red Cockaded must now call what remains

of the younger Longleaf Pine Forests home.

It has been on the Federal Endangered

Species List since 1970.


Unlike other Woodpeckers, the Red Cockaded

makes its nest in living Longleaf Pine Trees.

Red Cockaded Woodpecker at the Nest
A Red Cockaded Woodpecker at the Nest
Photo credit: U.S. FWS/Eric Spadgenske


The Woodpeckers preference for Pine Trees

with Red Heart Fungus are the primary

reason for its predicament.

A Pine Tree must age to acquire this disease,

which makes nest building much easier, but the

number of existing Longleaf Pines that have

both age and the disease are few.

Male and Female Red Cockaded Woodpeckers

Male and Female Red Cockaded Woodpeckers
Photo credit: U.S. FWS/Eric Spadgenske


These Woodpeckers live in groups of a nesting pair,

their current offspring and a few past ones as well.

We have them in the Ocala National Forest

because of the many Longleaf Pines here.


This Woodpecker is omnivorous, an opportunist

who will eat most anything, but prefers insects

and a variety of seeds, fruit and nuts.


Places to learn more:


Animal Diversity Web

Picoides Borealis



Red Cockaded Woodpecker



Red Cockaded Woodpecker



Red Cockaded Woodpecker



Safe Harbor Program for Red Cockaded Woodpecker



Red Cockaded Woodpecker



Species Spotlight - Red Cockaded


Nature Conservancy

Red Cockaded Woodpecker


Palmetto-Pear Preserve



University of Florida

Red Cockaded Woodpecker



Red Cockaded Woodpecker

RCW Alabama Safe Harbor



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Educating Visitors About Florida's Wildlife Since July 30, 2008

Last edited September 11, 2022

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