The Red-necked Woodpecker is listed as a species of Least Concern by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and by BirdLife International which notes that it has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for vulnerable under the range size criterion and also that its population trends appear to be stable.
Effects of human activity on populations
Although Red-necked Woodpecker has an extremely large range, suitable habitat for this forest dwelling species disappears when areas within its range are substantially deforested, cut over or reforested as secondary growth or exotic tree plantations. Research in specific locales within its range (in Bolivia, for example) indicates that Red-necked Woodpecker exhibits high sensitivity to human disturbance such as logging activity (Felton, et al. 2008). In western Brazilian Amazonia, woodpeckers seem prone to species replacement in heavily disturbed habitats due to the great reduction in foraging substrates available to these bark-gleaning birds (Johns 1991). Another study concluded that human disturbance negatively influenced the forest bird community, including Red-necked Woodpeckers, categorized as humid forest specialists and bark-gleaning insectivores, and found to be especially vulnerable among bird species and absent in disturbed areas in a deciduous forest in the Andean foothills of central Bolivia (Aben et al. 2008). In French Guiana, in northeasrn Amazonia, overall bird species richness and abundance were depressed in logged areas compared to primary forest where Red-necked Woodpecker was one of two of the most abundant woodpecker species (Thiollay 1997). In northeastern Brazilian Amazonia, large-scale reforestation of degraded land into secondary growth forest or exotic plantations was deemed to be unlikely to conserve most primary forest species, including Red-necked Woodpecker (Barlow, et al. 2007).