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

Pileated Woodpecker

Grand Pic

Dryocopus pileatus

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Pileated Woodpecker

Species: The Pileated Woodpecker (Dryocopus pileatus) is the size of a crow, and is the largest member of the woodpecker family seen in North America. Even today, this woodpecker is being mistaken for the extinct, Ivory-billed Woodpecker, which is similar in looks and size.

Distinctions: This large woodpecker, 16 to 17 inches in size, both sexes have large red crests, mostly black and white bodies, white stripes down their necks. The male can be distinguish from the female by its red malar (mustache) and full red crest, as to where the female has a black malar and a partial red crest. Both sexes have large white areas in the regions of their underwing coverts and axillaries made visible, when seen flying.

Voice: Loud rapid cries, something you would expect to hear in the tropics. Loud rapid tapping on a tree trunk or limb, for which the male does to attract a mate.

Nesting: Four white eggs per clutch. The Pileated Woodpecker nest in tree cavities. The holes made in tree trunks, are made by both sexes.

Birds of North America
B L W W W Family Latin Name
16.5" 42cm 29" 73.7cm 10oz 283.5g Picidae Dryocopus pileatus

  • Summer
  • Year Around
  • Winter

Distribution: Non-migratory and common across North America, seen from Nova Scotia to northern British Columbia, down into California, up into the central states, down into Texas, to the Atlantic coast and back up into Canada. This large woodpecker has adapted well, making a comeback from the early 1900's. The Pileated Woodpecker can now be seen even in wooded areas inside town and cities.

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