Downy Woodpecker - Photo Copyright Ward Cameron 2003 - Click to view a larger image Downy Woodpecker - Photo Copyright Ward Cameron 2003 - Click to view a larger image Downy Woodpecker - Photo Copyright Ward Cameron 2003 - Click to view a larger image Downy Woodpecker - Photo Copyright Ward Cameron 2003 - Click to view a larger image  
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Downy Woodpecker
Picoides pubescens

Woodpeckers
Woodpecker Family (Picidae)

Size: Length: 15-16.5 cm Wingspan: 28-31 cm

Description: This tiny woodpecker is primarily black and white in colour. Males have a tiny patch of red on the nape, adding a splash of colour. Other than this gender difference, the downy woodpecker has a white face, with a black crown, a thick black eye streak, and a final black streak running from the base of the beak to the back. The beak is very short. The throat and breast are white, with some patches of buff towards the undertail coverts.

The shoulder is black, with a prominent white line down the centre of the back. The wings have prominent white bars showing. The tail feathers are black with some white spots visible.

Similar Species: The hairy woodpecker is larger, has a longer beak and lacks the spots on the outer tail feathers. The red-naped sapsucker and the yellow-bellied sapsucker have red patches on the throat and crown helping to distinguish them from the downy woodpecker.

Range: This wide ranging woodpecker is found throughout much of North America. It varies between locally common to uncommon throughout the Canadian and American Rockies.

Habitat: This versatile woodpecker can be found in a wide variety of habitats. These include deciduous, mixed wood and coniferous forests.

Diet: Like other woodpeckers, insects are derigeur, along with insect eggs, cocoons, and spiders. They do eat suet, along with some seeds and nuts.

Nesting: Downy woodpeckers excavate a cavity in dead wood. The opening is approximately 4 cm (1.5 in) in diametre. The female lays 4-5 light or buff coloured eggs. Incubation is by both parents with the altricial and naked nestlings hatch after 11-13 days. They will be tended by both parents.

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All Material Ward Cameron 2005

 

 

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