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Birds of North America, Vagrant Visitors, Introduced Birds and Possibilities

Downy Woodpecker

Pic mineur

Picoides pubescens

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Downy Woodpecker

Species: The Downy Woodpecker (Picoides pubescens) is the smallest woodpecker seen in eastern North America. This black and white bird is seen over most of the continent. Although, it does not necessarily migrate, it is known to move to more adaptable regions where the climate may not be has harsh. In the winter months, this woodpecker can be seen around active bird feeders, where there is suet or black-oiled sunflower seeds to be had.

Distinctions: The male and female are similar in appearance, except for a red occipital patch seen on the back of the crown of the male. Both birds have bold superciliums above their eyes, large white areas from their nape to the tail feathers. Most have large white spots on their wings, and not always, but black spots on the outer white tail feathers.

Voice: Single call notes, sounding like "pik", rapid lyrics type chattering, and rapid drumming, using branch stubs, utility poles and even metal objects to define their territories.

Nesting: Four to five white eggs, one to two broods per year, depending on different regions in North America. Birds peck out their nest, to form cavities in trees for their young, and for their own night time roosting quarters.

Birds of North America
B L W W W Family Latin Name
6.75" 17.1cm 12" 30.5cm 0.95oz 26.9g Picidae Picoides pubescens

  • Summer
  • Year Around
  • Winter

Distribution: Found throughout forests, parks, wood lots and towns. In the northern regions, during the winter months, it is a common sight around birdfeeders. Seen from Newfoundland and Labrador to northern Alaska, down into California and across to Florida. Is not a seen along the Rio Grande, prefers cooler and wetter climate.

References to Other Bird Sites:

Avibase - the world bird database

ABA - American Birding Association

AOS - The American Ornitholgy Society

ABC - American Bird Conservancy

eBird - TheCornellLab of Ornithology

NA - National Geographic

NAC - National Audubon Society

Classic Collection of North American Birds