Red-bellied Woodpecker

Red-bellied Woodpecker, Melanerpes carolinus

This sturdy bird is equipped for a lifetime of climbing and drilling using its stiff bill to chip away bark to find insects, wood-boring beetles, seeds and wild fruits. Its long, cylindrical tongue has a hard tip to spear insects and a sticky coating to lap up ants. Any orchard, park farmland, or open swampy woodland with a handful of dead trees might be home to the red-bellied woodpecker, which bores a nest hole in dead tree trunks. (Field Guide to Backyard Birds of the South, 2008)

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