The Red-bellied Woodpecker (Melanerpes carolinus) is a medium-sized woodpecker of the Picidae family. It breeds in southern Canada and the northeastern United States, ranging as far south as Florida and as far west as Texas. Its common name is somewhat misleading, as the most prominent red part of its plumage is on the head; the Red-headed Woodpecker, however, is another species that is a rather close relative but looks quite different. It was first described in Linnaeus' Systema Naturae, as Picus carolinus. The type locality is given simply as "America septentrionalis" (North America).
Adults are mainly light gray on the face and underparts; they have black and white barred patterns on their back, wings and tail. Adult males have a red cap going from the bill to the nape; females have a red patch on the nape and another above the bill. The reddish tinge on the belly that gives the bird its name is difficult to see in field identification. They are 22.85 to 26.7 cm (9.00 to 10.51 in) long, and have a wingspan of 38 to 46 cm (15 to 18 in).