Red-Bellied Woodpecker
Comparison between female, male, and immature
August 2008

On my first page of red-bellied woodpeckers, I was amiss in only showing males. Today I play fair.

The first photo is from January 2008 and shows a female enjoying some suet. Note the gray forehead. One can see a hint of the red blush on her belly. It's faint - but there.

Female red-bellied woodpecker by our suet feeder
  On a sunny day in March I photographed a male red-bellied woodpecker with his brilliant red head.
Male red-bellied woodpecker
  The final image comes from last week when I observed an indistinctive bird. After I returned home and examined the photos, I realized it was an immature red-belly, the first time that I had ever seen one.

The entire head of the immature is gray.  

Immature red-bellied woodpecker
  And so there you have it: A clear distinction between female, male, and immature redbellies; that is, as long as they don't take to dyeing their feathers.

Photo note: I used a Pentax *ist D, with the SMC-A* 300mm lens for first photo and the SMC 1000mm reflex lens for the following two.

My Pennsylvania bird list

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