Dryobates pubescens

Common Names: Downy woodpecker
Category: Birds
Sub-category: Woodpeckers, Sapsuckers, & Flickers

The smallest woodpecker in North America. The downy woodpecker is mainly black on the upperparts and wings, with a white back, throat and belly and white spotting on the wings. There is a white bar above the eye and one below. They have a black tail with white outer feathers barred with black. Adult males have a red patch on the back of the head whereas juvenile birds display a red cap. The downy woodpecker is virtually identical in plumage pattern to the larger hairy woodpecker, but it can be distinguished from the hairy by the presence of black spots on its white tail feathers and the length of its bill. The downy woodpecker's bill is shorter than its head, whereas the hairy woodpecker's bill is approximately equal to head length. Despite their close resemblance, downy and hairy woodpeckers are not very closely related, and they are likely to be separated in different genera.

Downy woodpeckers are mainly found in deciduous forests and often in residential areas near bird feeders. They forage on trees, picking the bark surface in summer and digging deeper in winter. They mainly eat insects, also seeds and berries.

Edible Notes: No available information on edibility.
Warnings: Not known to be dangerous.
Sightings