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Picoides pubescens

Common Names: Downy Woodpecker,
Picoides pubescens
Picoides pubescens

Scientific Classification

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Piciformes
Family: Picidae
Genus: Dryobates
Species: Picoides pubescens

Conservation Status

Identifying Features

Downy Woodpeckers are small birds, reaching only 7 inches in length with a wingspan of 1 foot. They have black wings with white spottings, a white back, and a white belly. They have a short beak, and males sport a red crown.

Habitat & Range

Downy woodpeckers can be found deciduous forests throughout North America. They nest and overwinter in the cavities of dead tree limbs, visiting bird feeders throughout the winter.


Downy woodpeckers feed mostly on insects, as well as seeds and berries. They forage on trees, rapidly moving up and down the trunks in search of insects underneath the bark.

They are known to visit feeders, eating suet and sunflower seeds in the winter.

Life Cycle

Downy woodpeckers begin their courtship in the spring, and pair up to excavate a nesting cavity. Eggs are laid in clutches of 3-8 eggs, which are incubated for 12 days. The young hatch naked and helpless, and remain nestlings for 18-21 days, after which they fledge.

Featured Image by John Benson.


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