Adults are mainly light gray on the face and underparts; they have black and white barred patterns on their back, wings and tail. Adult males have a red head going from the bill to the nape; females have a red patch on the nape and another above the bill. The reddish tinge on the belly that gives the bird its name is difficult to see in field identification. They are 9 to 10.5 inches long, and have a wingspan of 15 to 18 inches.
Red-headed woodpeckers generally live in larger wood lots, and in older mature forests. They need older larger trees so they can bore a hole in which they build their nest.
This bird, finds its way to my wooded yard on a regular basis looking for bugs under the bark of many of the trees in my yard. It will also come to suet feeders set up, in the late fall, winter and early spring. A pair build a nest in one of my very old shag bark hickory trees this year. They generally have been using ash trees, which are a much softer wood then hickory. PattyC this photo and spotting are dedicated to you. I hope this photo helps to explain why this bird was named the red-bellied woodpecker. Many photos of this bird do not show the red belly well.