Pileated Woodpecker

As big as a crow, the pileated woodpecker is the largest member of the woodpecker family in North America. Its name comes from the Latin word pileatus, which means “capped,” alluding to the bird’s conspicuous crest.


Roland Jordahl
Pileated Woodpecker
Pileated Woodpecker
Pileated Woodpecker
Pileated Woodpecker


Pileated WoodpeckerRoland Jordahl
Roland Jordahl Pileated Woodpecker

Scientific Name: Dryocopus pileatus.
Family: Woodpecker.
Length: 17 inches.
Wingspan: 29 inches.
Distinctive Markings: Full red crest, black wings and tail, and a white stripe on the neck. Male’s crest extends to the top of the bill. Male’s “mustache” is red, female’s is black.
Nest: The pair creates a tree cavity. Using no nesting material, the female lays three to five white eggs.
Voice: Contact call is a deep loud “wek” or “kuk” sound. Territorial call is a higher-pitched cackle, “flick-a, flick-a, flick-a.”
Habitat: Mature coniferous and deciduous forests and large tracts of mixed woodlands.
Diet: Mostly carpenter ants, as well as other insects, wild berries and acorns.
Backyard Favorite: Suet.

Bird Song & Range Map

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

Bird songs provided by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

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

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Jill Staake
Jill lives in Tampa, Florida, and writes about gardening, butterflies, outdoor projects and birding. When she's not gardening, you'll find her reading, traveling and happily digging her toes into the sand on the beach.