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Woodpecker Symbolism: What Does it Mean to Dream About Woodpeckers?

The woodpecker is a busy little bird, hopping from tree to tree using the force of its head and beak to drill holes into trees, looking for bugs. A walk through a forest often brings the repetitive knocking sound of a woodpecker looking for a meal.

two large red headed woodpeckers perched on a tree trunk.

So what does it mean when these industrious birds appear in our dreams? Let’s examine the woodpecker as a symbol and what messages it may have for you when it finds its way into your dream world.

Learn more about the symbolism of birds in your dreams.

The woodpecker’s symbolism throughout history

Various cultures throughout history have found the woodpecker inspirational. Indigenous cultures in the Americas thought the woodpecker symbolized power and protected the forest.

The knocking sound it makes was drum-like, and it was believed the woodpecker could communicate to the spirit world through its drumming.  

small black and white speckled woodpecker with red head on a small branch.

The ancient Egyptians thought the woodpecker was a symbol of rebirth, while the Greeks and Romans believed they represented immortality. Likewise, Christians have used the woodpecker as a symbol of the resurrection. 

To the Native Americans, the woodpecker was considered a medicine bird. It was also a symbol of good luck and friendship.

The meaning of woodpeckers in our dreams

So if we are dreaming about woodpeckers, what does it mean? There are a few interpretations of what a woodpecker in your dream may symbolize.


To dream of the hardworking woodpecker may be a message not to give up. It takes persistence to achieve your goals.

bright red headed northern flicker perched on a trunk.

So the woodpecker in your dream may be telling you, “even if it feels like you are banging your head against the wall, don’t give up; you will uncover your reward sooner than you think.”


Woodpeckers use their knocking or drumming on trees to communicate with each other; therefore, in your dreams, they could be seen as a messenger about communication. It may mean you need to get in touch with someone, or communication needs to be improved.

Renewal and change

Woodpeckers are most known for breaking through the bark and reaching the new growth underneath. A dream of a woodpecker may mean you are headed toward a change or have entered a period of removing the old to reveal the new. 

Related: What does it mean to dream of cardinals?

a large red crested woodpecker perched on a tree trunk.

A spirit guide

Some indigenous peoples believe woodpeckers can talk to the spirit world. So if they show up in your dreams, they may mean our spirit guides are trying to contact you or you desire to become more involved in your spirituality.

They may also carry a message from loved ones who have crossed over. Just what that message may be can be determined by assessing the scenario with which this bird has appeared in your individual dream.

Dreaming of specific kinds of woodpeckers

Red-headed Woodpecker

This distinctive-looking woodpecker is easily identifiable by its all-red-colored head. Red is the color of passion, and when this woodpecker shows up in your dreams, it may be a message to seek more passion in your life. These woodpeckers may also symbolize a need for more creative resourcefulness.

Downy Woodpecker

If you dream of a downy woodpecker, the smallest woodpecker species in North America, it might indicate you have small tasks that need your determined attention. A downy woodpecker is an efficient and persistent worker, and he may be trying to tell you it’s time to get down to work. 

a small black and white speckled woodpecker on a tree trunk in the snow.

Downy woodpeckers are successful at adapting to the changing seasons. The downy woodpecker thrives in the heat of summer or the frigid depths of winter. So when a downy woodpecker shows up in your dreams, it may be a message to get happy where you are and thrive.

The Northern Flicker

The northern flicker woodpecker is found all over Canada, the United States, and Mexico. It is the only species of woodpecker that finds its food on the ground as compared to up in the trees.  

close up of a northern flicker perched on a brick building.

To dream of this woodpecker who does things a little differently may mean that you must look at things from a new angle or try a different problem-solving approach. The northern flicker also has a very distinct call. In your dreams, it may be calling you to maintain your individuality.

Pileated Woodpecker

The pileated woodpecker is the largest species of woodpecker in the Americas. Pileated woodpeckers in your dreams may mean you seek a sense of confidence or determination. The pileated woodpecker is able to make large holes in trees and may indicate you have some things you need to get to the bottom of in your life.

Woodpeckers are industrious birds who thrive in environments all over the world. So welcome these fascinating birds into your dreams. They most likely carry an important message to help you get the most out of your life.

Learn more about why we dream and what dreams are!