Woodpeckers (Picidae)

Red-bellied Woodpecker (Melanerpes carolinus) - HBW 7, p. 448

French: Pic à ventre roux German: Carolinaspecht Spanish: Carpintero de Carolina

Taxonomy: Picus carolinus Linnaeus, 1758, North America = South Carolina.
Sometimes combined with other barred congeners in a separate genus Centurus. Forms a superspecies with M. superciliaris. Interbreeds to limited extent with M. aurifrons in S USA (Texas). Individual variation considerable, but considered not sufficiently correlated to any geographical pattern to warrant recognition of races; examination of extensive series of specimens indicates that width of white bars above varies clinally, increasing from E to W. Described race zebra from W of range indistinguishable. Birds from S Florida described as race perplexus, being.. View all taxonomy...

Taxonomy: Picus carolinus Linnaeus, 1758, North America = South Carolina.
Sometimes combined with other barred congeners in a separate genus Centurus. Forms a superspecies with M. superciliaris. Interbreeds to limited extent with M. aurifrons in S USA (Texas). Individual variation considerable, but considered not sufficiently correlated to any geographical pattern to warrant recognition of races; examination of extensive series of specimens indicates that width of white bars above varies clinally, increasing from E to W. Described race zebra from W of range indistinguishable. Birds from S Florida described as race perplexus, being slightly smaller and tending to show more white on upperparts, paler red on lower forehead and less white in tail, possibly sufficiently distinct to be separated; birds from E & C Texas described as race harpaceus, with greyer cheeks and throat, perhaps also warrant subspecific status; further study required. Monotypic.

Distribution: SE North America from SE North Dakota, C Minnesota and N Wisconsin E to extreme S Ontario and S Massachusetts, and S through E USA (W along valleys of R Missouri and R Platte to C South Dakota and extreme NE Colorado) to coastal SC Texas and Florida.