When Do Woodpeckers Lay Eggs?
13 Fascinating Facts

Are you curious to know when do woodpeckers lay eggs? Read this post to learn fascinating facts.

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David A. Swanson

July 25, 2021

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What’s This Post About?

As the name suggests, woodpeckers are known for how they hunt for food by pecking on tree trunks using their beaks. They have long, strong beaks that help them hunt food for themselves.

Woodpeckers like to reside in areas where trees are abundant, so you are most likely to find them in forests or woodlands. They usually feed on insects; however, some species of woodpeckers also like feeding on berries, nuts, and acorns. Moreover, they lay 4-6 eggs in each clutch that are incubated for 12-14 days.

Read this post ahead to discover fascinating facts about woodpeckers’ egg-laying habits.

The majority of species of woodpeckers lay eggs between the months of April and July. For Downy woodpeckers and red-headed woodpeckers, for instance, they lay eggs over a period of a couple of days. The incubation duty is shared by both parents which lasts for 12 days. Each clutch has between 3 to 10 eggs.


Fascinating Facts About Woodpeckers and their Eggs

The mating period of woodpeckers varies on the basis of their species. Before the mating season, the male and female parents dig up a cavity in a tree where they can lay the eggs for incubation. This egg incubation period lasts for approximately two weeks.

The clutch size for woodpeckers is 3-10 eggs with a length of 2.5 cm and width of 1.9 cm. The nesting period of woodpeckers eggs is 24 to 31 days. The eggs are incubated for 11 to 14 days before they are hatched.

When woodpeckers hatch, they are featherless and blind; they can leave the nest after 25 to 30 days after being born. Due to this reason, one parent always stays in the nest while the other goes hunting food. Cotni

Continue to read on to learn some fascinating facts about woodpeckers and their eggs. 


1. Clutch Size

A woodpecker’s clutch size is three to ten eggs.

A clutch means a group of eggs produced by birds at a single time and laid in a nest. The clutch size technique helps to double the egg production, mainly to increase the population size.

Clutch size is affected by food abundance according to the habitat. During the mating and reproduction period, the better the food abundance, the better will be the clutch size.


2. Number Of Broods

A woodpecker’s number of broods is one to two broods.

Depending upon the species, bird broods can range from 1 to 15 eggs. Brood means a number of eggs hatched at a particular time.

3. Mating Period

Woodpecker’s mating season ranges between the months of April till July.

They start drumming on trees or any metal object to call for a mate. This drumming sound is loud and continuous.

4. Egg Length


A woodpecker’s egg length ranges from 2 to 3.5 centimeters depending on the species.

5. Egg Width

A woodpecker’s egg width ranges from 1.5  to 2.5 centimeters depending on the species.

6. Incubation Period

A woodpecker’s incubation period is 12 to 14 days.

The brooding period also called the incubation period, is roughly 10-14 days. Both parents guard the eggs during this period for 30-50 minutes each. During this time, the other free parent goes out in search of food. 

7. Nestling Period

A woodpecker’s nestling period lasts for 18 to 35 days. Once the birds are ready to leave the nest, they return to spend some time with their parents for one to eight weeks in the territory.


When woodpeckers hatch, they are featherless and blind, i.e. their eyes remain closed for the first ten to twelve days.

Woodpeckers and Their Habitat


Woodpeckers belong to the family Picidae (order Piciformes) and the subfamily Picinae (true woodpeckers). They are known for poking in tree barks in search of insects to feed on.

Woodpeckers are found all over the world, especially in areas where there are trees in abundance including trees with oak, a thicket of dying trees, orchards, farmlands, roadsides, and river bottom.

When the breeding period starts, woodpeckers move from interior forests to forest edges. Dead or dying trees are a part of their habitat and hence needed at the time of breeding.

In the South during winters, woodpeckers are found on pine and pine-oak trees whereas in the North during winters, they are found on oak-hickory, beech, and ash trees.

Woodpeckers Ecology And Behavior


Woodpeckers peck on the trees that help remove the insect pests. They usually eat insects; however, some species of woodpeckers also feed on fruits, acorns, and berries. Their act of poking on trees helps them catch their prey and dig up nest cavities.

Woodpeckers peck in turns for approximately 8000 to 12000 times in a day. They do so for two reasons: to engage in courtship and to conversate with other woodpeckers.

Woodpeckers climb up tree trunks by hopping and stay still for a long period. They are known as strong fliers and depend on their tail. They follow up on a tree by pecking into every nook and then fly to a new area or to a neighboring tree to start the process all over again.

Woodpeckers Conservation Status

There is no immediate or emerging threat to the various species of woodpeckers. 

The conservation status of woodpeckers is referred to as safe since the number of woodpeckers present in the wild is strong. 


Woodpeckers: Communication

Woodpecker’s way of communication is quite unique and interesting. Their communication is to produce a woodpecker call, also known as drumming.

These birds utilize their bills against a hard object to make the drumming sound, known as the ‘woodpecker sound’, which assists them in communicating with one another. Woodpeckers do this to draw in a mate or to mark their region.

Woodpeckers: Survival

Woodpeckers hunt for food by making holes in the trees using their strong beaks. 

A woodpecker’s beak is strong and stiff that helps them drill the holes in order to look for food. Hence, it can be concluded that they survive using their beaks according to climate conditions.

Woodpeckers: Symbolism

Woodpeckers are powerful and resilient birds. Their attributes like strength, wisdom, kindness, and determination make them spirit animals. They are also known for their positivity because they try to find meaning in almost anything, even in hopeless situations.

A woodpecker’s symbolism is linked with luck, prosperity, and optimism. They are also known for spiritual healing in different regions and cultures. Lastly, they are also one of the most intelligent birds.

Woodpeckers: Different Types


Woodpeckers differentiate on the basis of their size, habitat, feeding process, shape, and color.

Here is a list of some different types of woodpeckers:

  1. Lesser-spotted woodpecker
  2. European green woodpecker
  3. Downy woodpecker
  4. Pileated woodpecker
  5. Black woodpecker
  6. Redheaded woodpecker
  7. Great spotted woodpecker
  8. Grey-headed woodpecker

Most of the woodpeckers have the same physical shape; however, they vary from each other on the basis of a slight variation in their body structure.

Fun Facts About Woodpeckers

Here is a list of some funny and weird facts related to woodpeckers. 

They Have Weird Feet


A woodpecker’s feet are known as zygodactyl feet.

Woodpeckers have weird feet. Unlike other birds with three toes facing downwards and one toe facing backward, woodpeckers have two toes that face downwards and two toes that face backward.

Their toe shape helps them in climbing up the trees and maintaining strength when holding onto the trees to search for food to feed on. Their short legs help them with stability.

It is easier for woodpeckers to climb up the trees using their toes; however, they can not climb back down and have to fly.

Super Long Tongue

Woodpeckers have super long tongues.

Their tongues are twice the length of their bill. This helps them to reach through the holes for the insects inside the trees. Also, their tongue’s texture and saliva are sticky that helps them find and pull out insects.

When not hunting, their long tongue just curls through their head back between the skull and the skin.

Furry Noses


Isn’t it funny how they spend all day pecking the trees and yet survive despite all the dust and splinters?

Well, a woodpecker’s nose is furry. The fur helps keeps away splinters and dust.

Just like a human nose, a woodpecker’s nose too helps keep the moisture and reduces the chances of infection or allergies.

They Feed On Baby Bird’s Brain

When woodpeckers are alone and thirsty in the desert, they feed on baby bird’s brains to stay hydrated.

This conduct may have been a direct result of the warmth in the desert where they reside, and the baby bird’s brains are a wellspring of liquid just as food. It might likewise be on the grounds that they were a simple dinner as woodpeckers are known to eat eggs, and a chick head is very similar to an egg.

No Headaches

If you just think of a creature pecking into something as hard as a tree, won’t you get a headache just by the thought of it? Well, woodpeckers spend most of their life pecking, and they do not get any concussions or headaches.

If we compare a woodpecker with a human, we humans would feel a concussion at a maximum of 100g of force, whereas woodpeckers who hit their head at about 1000g of force do not feel any concussion.

A woodpecker’s bill helps circulate the shock throughout the skull.

No Wearing Out Of Beaks


Isn’t it strange how they poke their beaks onto the trees with such force, and yet the beaks remain in the perfect shape? They poke at a force rate of 1000g, for 8000 to 12000 times in a day.

Excellent Hearing

Woodpecker’s hearing abilities are commendable. They can hear the sound of the tiniest insect or larvae moving in the wood. Their hearing abilities help them locate their prey even in the deepest holes or under the bark.

They use their hearing power to sense where the juiciest larva is to begin the pecking.

Nest Habits

Digging a hole right straight into the trees is absurd in the case of woodpeckers. They always dig up holes of different sizes depending on the species, i.e., the holes are bigger than the size of the bird.

For instance, small woodpecker species make a hole that goes down about a foot from the opening, whereas bigger woodpeckers dig down 2 feet.

Heavy Metal

Woodpeckers create a loud drumming sound by banging their head against hard objects. This drumming is a call for a mate or to mark their territory. Woodpeckers are seen drumming in the spring season since it is the mating season for them.

Since trees cannot help produce loud sounds, woodpeckers move towards something louder than trees, metal. They drum on metal objects like pipes or anything they can find on the ground.

This sound may be annoying to the human ears, but it works great for woodpeckers while attracting a mate.

Tongue And Its Curling

In the bird kingdom, woodpeckers are known for their long tongues. Their tongue has a sticky-like texture that helps woodpeckers graze out holes that they have made earlier by poking the tree and then dragging out any insects they find.

But what happens when they are not on a food hunt? Well, their tongue curls around their brain at the top of their skull.

Strong Tail


A woodpecker’s tail has strong feathers. They use it as a support to maintain their stability when they are poking on the trees.

They have large bones and muscles to support their tails, unlike other species of birds. A woodpeckers’ tail serves as additional support and provides balance when they are on the trees.

Endangered Species

 Amongst many different species that are a part of the red list of threatened species, three species of woodpeckers are extremely endangered, five species are endangered, and ten species are vulnerable.

Critically Endangered

  1. Imperial Woodpecker
  2. Okinawa woodpecker
  3. Ivory-billed woodpecker


  1. Varzea piculet
  2. Yellow-faced woodpecker
  3. Redheaded flame back
  4. Speckle chested piculet

Keep Reading!

Woodpeckers are beautiful birds with different capabilities than other species of birds. They are intelligent and differently-abled birds that can stay up to the height of the trees while pecking on the branches. Their unusual-shaped claws are what helps them stay put on the trees.

In terms of their laying eggs, woodpeckers lay in between 3 to 10 eggs in a brood. This egg laying process takes in between the months of April and July. Once the eggs are laid, both parents help incubate the eggs for a period of 12 days after which the baby chick hatches. 

If you wish to read up more on woodpeckers, do not miss reading up on this post which talks about where do woodpeckers nest. 

Where Do Woodpeckers Nest? 9 Awesome Facts You'll Love!

Are you wondering where these wood-pecking birds nest? Interestingly, we have collected a few facts. Keep reading to find out more about these birds.

David A. Swanson Picture

By David A. Swanson

Bird Watching USA

My name is David and I'm the the founder of Bird Watching USA! I started Bird Watching with My father-in-law many years ago, and I've become an addict to watching these beautiful creatures. I've learnt so much over about bird watching over the years that I want to share with the world everything I know about them!

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David A. Swanson Picture

David A. Swanson

Bird Watching USA

My name is David and I'm the the founder of Bird Watching USA! I started Bird Watching with My father-in-law many years ago, and I've become an addict to watching these beautiful creatures. I've learnt so much over about bird watching over the years that I want to share with the world everything I know about them!



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