Field Guide

Photo credit: Jean-Guy Dallaire


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Downy Woodpecker

The Downy Woodpecker, Picoides pubescens, is the smallest woodpecker in North America.

Adults are mainly black on the upper parts and wings, with a white back, throat and belly and white spotting on the wings. There is a white bar above and below the eye. They have a black tail with white outer feathers barred with black. Adult males have a red patch on the back of the head. It is similar in appearance to the much larger Hairy Woodpecker.

Their breeding habitat is forested areas, mainly deciduous, across most of North America to Central America. They nest in a tree cavity, excavated by the nesting pair in a dead tree or limb.

These birds are mostly permanent residents. Northern birds may migrate further south; birds in mountainous areas may move to lower elevations.

These birds forage on trees, picking the bark surface in summer and digging deeper in winter. They mainly eat insects, also seeds and berries.

External links

* Downy woodpecker by John Audubon


Descriptions from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Used under terms of the GNU Free Documentation License

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