Large, brownish woodpecker with black barring on the back and black spots on the belly. Easily recognized in flight by its bright white rump. Also note large black crescent-shaped mark on breast. Wings and tail flash yellow or red, depending on the subspecies. Generally "Yellow-shafted" is found in eastern and northern North America, and "Red-shafted" is found in western North America as far south as Oaxaca. Birds from Chiapas to Nicaragua are larger with entirely brown crown, sometimes considered a separate species. Typically singly or in pairs, but can gather in large loose groups during migration and winter. Often seen feeding on the ground in open areas, foraging for ants and worms. Vocal and conspicuous: listen for loud “kleer!” call and series of laughing notes.
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