Downy Woodpecker

Frequent backyard visitors, Downy Woodpeckers may form pairs very early in the season, tapping out their courtship song on a tree trunk. Listen for this rhythmic sound as early as January.

Downy Woodpecker

Linda Petersen Downy Woodpecker

Scientific Name: Picoides pubescens.
Family: Woodpecker.
Length: 6-1/2 inches.
Wingspan: 12 inches.
Distinctive Markings: Black above and white below with white-spotted black wings and tail. The back of the male’s head has a red patch.
Nest: Excavates or reuses a cavity in a dead tree or uses a woodpecker nesting box. Lays four to five white eggs.
Voice: Short and flat “pik” call.
Habitat: Any open wooded area, including parks and backyards.
Diet: Insects, caterpillars, berries and nuts.
Backyard Favorites: Suet and peanut butter.

Listen to the Downy Woodpecker’s song and learn where to spot them!

Bird songs provided by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

Downy Woodpecker Bird SpeciesRange maps provided by Kaufman Field Guides, the official field guide of Birds & Blooms.

Photos

Information

Downy Woodpecker

Linda Petersen Downy Woodpecker

Scientific Name: Picoides pubescens.
Family: Woodpecker.
Length: 6-1/2 inches.
Wingspan: 12 inches.
Distinctive Markings: Black above and white below with white-spotted black wings and tail. The back of the male’s head has a red patch.
Nest: Excavates or reuses a cavity in a dead tree or uses a woodpecker nesting box. Lays four to five white eggs.
Voice: Short and flat “pik” call.
Habitat: Any open wooded area, including parks and backyards.
Diet: Insects, caterpillars, berries and nuts.
Backyard Favorites: Suet and peanut butter.

Bird Song & Range Map

Listen to the Downy Woodpecker’s song and learn where to spot them!

Bird songs provided by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

Downy Woodpecker Bird SpeciesRange maps provided by Kaufman Field Guides, the official field guide of Birds & Blooms.

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  1. new2me2 says

    I truely have been blessed. I have hairy, downey and red bellied woodpeckers. I love watching them coming and going. They each are very beautiful.

    • Rick Petri says

      I live in Central Mass and was so surprised last spring to realize I also had all three woodpeckers feasting on the suet and hanging suet bell. Red bellied seemed to disappear during summer, but is back again. The downy is very tame I can approach within 10-15 feet before they fly away. Fun to watch hopping up and down the trees.

  2. Susan Riley says

    Here on the Texas Coast, the Downey Woodpecker is already singing. We have multiple birds in our trees; I love to look for them when I hear their call.

  3. Norma says

    I love downy woodpeckers! I have a pair that come to the magnolia in my front yard. I always know at least one is there by the pik, pik, pik… I’ve also seen a red bellied a couple of times. Would love to see that one more often.

  4. Kirk Klag says

    I have had a flicker visiting my site for several years. A red headed woodpecker visits in the summer. A Downey recently discovered the feeder (and suet) and now he stays there all day. He will stuff on suet and then leave for about a half hour and then he is back at the suet.

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