Downy Woodpecker Information, Photos, and Facts
Downy woodpeckers are the most likely variety of woodpecker to visit bird feeders in North America. This cute bird is a welcome guest, as it will also often eat insects out of trees near the feeder.
The Downy Woodpecker (Picoides pubescens) is the smallest species of woodpecker in North America. American Expedition is proud to present information, interesting facts, and photos of The Downy Woodpecker.
Downy Woodpecker Information
The Downy woodpecker is the smallest North American woodpecker measuring 5-7 inches and weighing only .70-1.2 ounces. The upper back, rump and wings of this bird are black. The wings are spotted with white dots. There is a white strip down its back, and a white bar above and below each eye. The underside of the woodpecker is completely white. The adult male has a distinct feature that the female lacks. It has a red patch on the back of its head. These are not to be confused with a juvenile downy, which have a red “crown” on the top of their heads.
Downy woodpeckers mate in the early spring. Both the male and the female bird make the nest. A nest is made by pecking a hole in a dead tree. The female then lays her white eggs, usually 4 or 5, and both birds take turns sitting on them for approximately 12 days. When the chicks hatch, both parents care for them and feed them, and they leave the nest when they are three weeks old. The chick’s sexual maturity is reached at one year. The oldest known Downy lived to be almost 12 years old.
Downy Woodpecker Facts
- The Downy can produce many vocal sounds as well as the drumming noise it makes with its beak when it pecks trees.
- The bill of a Downy is short and black.
- Downy woodpeckers love sunflower seeds.
- Making a hole in the tree for a nest takes about 2 weeks.
- The woodpecker pair only has one brood a year.
- Downy Woodpeckers forage on trees for food.
- The Downy’s plumage is almost identical to the Hairy woodpecker. Size is the key to distinguishing them from each other.
- Downy Woodpeckers do not sing vocally, instead they make songs by drumming loudly on pieces of wood and tree trunks.
- Male Downies tend to feed on smaller tree branches, while females tend to feed on the larger branches.
- Downy woodpeckers are monogamous, which means the same pair stays and mates with each other for years.
- Predators include mainly birds of prey, but also rats and cats in urban areas.
- The eggs of a woodpecker can be attacked by snakes and squirrels.
Downy Woodpecker Habitat
Downy woodpeckers are located all throughout the United States and Canada, except in the southwest deserts of North America. They are permanent residents, although some of the more northern birds travel further south for winter.
What Do Woodpeckers Eat?
The Downy woodpecker occupies forests, gardens, woodlands, and yards and eats mainly insects, larvae and beetles. It also feeds on berries, moths, seeds, and suet.
Downy Woodpeckers forage on trees for food.
Males Downies tend to feed on smaller tree branches, while females tend to feed on the larger branches.
In addition to sunflower seeds, Downy Woodpeckers love to eat from suet cakes.
Downy Woodpeckers do not sing vocally, instead they make songs by drumming loudly on pieces of wood and tree trunks.
Male Downies tend to feed on smaller tree branches, while females tend to feed on the larger branches.