Downy Woodpecker

The Downy Woodpecker (Dryobates pubescens) is a bird in the Picidae famiy of woodpeckers.

The Downy Woodpecker is mainly black on the upperparts and wings, with a white back, throat, and belly. It has white spots on its wings. There is one white bar above the eye and one white bar below the eye. It has a black tail with white outer feathers that have black bars. It has a strong, grey beak. The adult male has a red patch on the back of its head. The male and female juveniles have a red cap. 

Downy Woodpecker (left)

It grows to 14-18 centimetres (5-7 inches) tall, with a wingspan of 25-31 centimetres (10-12 inches). It is the smallest of North America’s woodpeckers. 

It is native to North America. It prefers forested areas. It is mostly residential, but some northern birds migrate south during times of food shortages.

The Downy Woodpecker uses its strong beak to hammer into (peck into) the side of a tree branch. It has a long tongue to catch insects. 

It nests in tree cavities. The female lays 2-4 eggs, which hatch after about 13 days. 

Location of photographs: Nashville, Tennessee, United States of America

Photographer: Michael Catalano


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