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What do Woodpeckers Eat?

What do Woodpeckers Eat

Whether you’re a birder or love watching birds from your window, you’ve probably wondered what do woodpeckers eat? Woodpeckers are exciting birds that have some unique dietary needs. Woodpeckers can eat several sorts of food. However, different sorts of woodpeckers eat different things.

For example, pileated woodpeckers eat one thing while spotted ones eat another. Moreover, woodpeckers eat depending on where they’re looking for food.I

n this article, we’ll look at what do woodpeckers eat and how they get the food they need to survive. We’ll also explore some of the challenges posed by woodpecker diets.


What do Woodpeckers Eat?

In the following section, we will explore what do woodpeckers eat. Keep reading, and we are sure you will be an expert by the end.


Fats from cattle, cows, sheep, etc., are known as suet. This item is used by many to make puddings and, likewise, food recipes. However, they’re readily available suet packs in the market.

If you want woodpeckers to come around your house, put suet on a bird feeder. You can also buy some fat from a butcher. Then, you can just put it around your backyard for woodpeckers to eat.


Different bugs and insects are loved by woodpeckers. These are small and easy for the woodpeckers to eat. Bugs like beetles are the best food source for a woodpecker. They also feed on the insects that accumulate in the woods. Woodpeckers dig out the insects from the trees.

Also, they catch insects while flying. The parents accumulate insects to feed the children. However, after 30 or a few more days, the young woodpeckers come out of the nest to hunt for food.


If you’re someone who loves woodpeckers, try peanuts to attract them. Peanuts, when shelled, are loved by these birds. However, some of them also love unshelled peanuts.

The good news is that there are many bird feeders based on peanuts

So, install those feeders in your balcony or yard to appear like woodpeckers. It’s worth noting that peanut butter is also the favorite of a woodpecker.


Woodpeckers love seeds, and these are much compatible with them. They can peck through the trees and fruits to find the seeds. However, sunflower seeds are the most favorite food for them.  Many have been reported to spread sunflower seeds in their backyard. They did it to attract the woodpeckers, and it worked perfectly as they were seen in great numbers.


Woodpeckers love apples, grapes, and different berries. So you can attract these birds if you’ve got these fruits in your garden. Due to the sweetness of fruits, birds prefer to eat them. In addition, the sugar level provides them with the required energy and food appeal.

So, those who want to attract woodpeckers and other birds install bird feeders with fruit slices. 


Woodpeckers love trees that produce nectar. They extract nectar from the sap of different trees. However, bird feeders with nectar will also do for a woodpecker. But, we should use a feeder with a large feeding port. Birds like woodpeckers can’t get the nectar out from small ports.


The sap is the least favorite to woodpeckers. They’ll prefer to eat juice from the trees when there aren’t many food sources. However, bird lovers can put sap with a mixture of other food items in a bird feeder. This way, it’ll attract woodpeckers. Also, these birds will love to eat sap with other food rather than eating it raw and plain

What kind of Bird Feeder is best for Woodpeckers?

Bird Feeder for Woodpeckers

Window, tube, and suet feeders are the best for woodpeckers. 

  • Window feeders are attached to windows. These feeders are tied with the aid of a suction tube. So, it’s compatible with woodpeckers due to the perfect view.
  • Tube feeders come with feeding holes. So, birds can eat from those holes quickly. However, woodpeckers will require large feeding holes.
  • Suet Feeders are perfect for woodpeckers as they love to eat suet. These feeders are caged and usually tied to trees.

Do Woodpeckers come to Bird Feeders?

Yes, woodpeckers do come to bird feeders. But, it depends on the food that is on the feeders. These birds love peanuts, seeds, suet, and insects. So, if you can put these food items on bird feeders, woodpeckers will most definitely come. However, there must be no bully birds around the feeder. So, take care of no big birds getting attracted to bird feeders.

What do Woodpeckers eat in Gardens?

The answer to your question about what do woodpeckers eat in the garden is that these birds can eat anything they love in the gardens. For example, fruits and seeds from the trees are abundant in a park. So, woodpeckers can eat these food items.

However, we can also install bird feeders with suet and peanuts in the garden. We need to install the feeder near where we want them to come. Note that woodpeckers also eat insects that live on the garden trees and plants.

What do Woodpeckers eat in nature?


Woodpeckers love to eat sap from plants. Woodpeckers also love nectars produced from different trees. These birds love seeds produced from different woodpeckers. For example, sunflower seeds are a woodpecker’s most common food item. Woodpeckers can catch small flies while they are flying. It’s one of these birds’ most striking characteristics.

Do Woodpeckers Eat Apples?

Woodpeckers and most birds love fruits. However, these birds love apples the most. Therefore, among all the fruits, woodpeckers will eat apples mostly. They peck through an Apple and eat it piece by piece. Among the fruits, oranges and grapes are also preferred by woodpeckers. Berries and cherries are also two favorite food items for woodpeckers.

Do Woodpeckers eat Baby Birds?

What do Woodpeckers Eat?

Yes, woodpeckers love to eat different parts of baby birds (chicks). For example, the brains of the chicks are preferred by woodpeckers. But, it’s not always the case. Woodpeckers won’t mind eating baby birds whenever food is scarce. Note that these birds have got sharp bills. With the help of the bill, they drill into the skull of baby birds.

Do Woodpeckers Eat Eggs?

Woodpeckers love hatchling and eggs. When these birds find a nest of other birds, they look for eggs. They poke and break the eggshell to eat them. However, if you’re worried about your bird’s nest and the eggs, try to keep them away from the woodpeckers. The best idea would be to keep the eggs inside your house.

What types of seeds do Woodpeckers eat?

Sunflower seeds are the most common ones that woodpeckers eat. However, these birds are also favorites of cracked corn, apple seeds, etc. Seed cakes are eaten by the woodpeckers produced with a mixture of suet, sunflower seeds, and nuts.

What kind of nuts do Woodpeckers eat?

Woodpeckers eat peanuts, almonds, and many other nuts. These birds also love tree nuts and beechnuts. If you love the visual of woodpeckers around your backyard, try spreading nuts somewhere close.

What time of day do Woodpeckers feed?

Like the other birds, Woodpeckers feed during the morning and afternoon. They return to the nest with a full stomach in the evening. They start early and stop for a while in the afternoon

Then, these birds resume hunting for food till the evening.

Woodpeckers have similarities to humans in terms of sleeping. They love the quiet environment at night. So, at that time, they sleep and avoid hunting for food.

What do Pileated Woodpeckers eat in the winter?

Pileated Woodpeckers

Woodpeckers eat ants and other small insects in the winter. However, they also love to eat fruits, if available during the winter. However, finding ant colonies can be challenging during the winter. At that time, woodpeckers may eat suet.

What do Woodpeckers eat during the winter in Minnesota?

In Minnesota, woodpeckers love to eat fruits, flower buds, and small insects during the winter. But, of course, it all depends on the availability of these food items. Suet is typical food for woodpeckers all season.

What do Woodpeckers eat in summer?

It’s worth noting that woodpeckers are breeding birds. So they need energy and protein from food to nourish and grow hatchlings. Thus, during the summer, they eat a lot of insects to cover up the protein amount they need for their body. Also, they won’t mind eating the flesh or brain of small birds, if necessary.

What do Downy Woodpeckers eat at bird feeders?

Woodpeckers eat at bird feeders

It all depends on what food you put on bird feeders. Woodpeckers will eat any food they love if you put it in the bird feeder. Suet, sunflower seeds, insects, peanuts, etc., are some notable food items that a woodpecker eats at bird feeders.

What Do Red-Headed Woodpeckers Eat Besides Bugs?

Red-headed woodpeckers mainly love bugs or insects. They also love to eat suet, peanuts, seeds, berries, and various fruits. Among the fruits, they love to eat apples the most. Sometimes, they’ll feed on apple seeds if you put them on a bird feeder.

What Do Spotted Woodpeckers Eat?

Caterpillars, spiders, and other likewise creatures are favorites foods of spotted woodpeckers. They also love to eat mature beetles and the eggs of small birds.

What Do Red-Bellied Woodpeckers Eat?

Red-bellied woodpeckers feed on plants and insects. However, at some point, they only love to eat plants. For example, they’ll eat plant buds, fruits like acorn fruits, apples, etc.

Final Words

Woodpeckers are one of the most beautiful creatures in nature. If you love these birds, you might want to know what they eat. As you can see, woodpeckers have a versatile diet. Their diet mainly depends on the season and geographical location. The best way to attract woodpeckers is by putting a bird feeder in your backyard and filling it with their favorite food items. We hope that now you know what do woodpeckers eat.

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