How Do Woodpeckers Mate and Reproduce?

Photo: Alastair Rae / Flickr
Photo: Alastair Rae / Flickr

Woodpeckers, such as the red-bellied woodpeckers, reproduce by forming breeding pairs during their mating season, which typically occur at the onset of winter until the end of spring. Breeding seasons usually vary among species, including the incubation periods and the number of eggs laid per season.

Woodpeckers are largely arboreal animals that primarily rely on trees for their food source, protection and nesting grounds. During their mating season, woodpeckers use two distinctive calls to attract the opposite species. One is referred to as “kwirr” calls while the other is a regular pecking pattern known as “drumming.”

Breeding pairs choose their nesting sites together, which are commonly bored in dead trees or dead branches. The clutch size varies from three to five eggs or from four to six eggs per season. Gestation usually lasts between 11 and 14 days. The hatchlings are taken care of by both parents.