– Scientific Classification –
- Kingdom: Animalia
- Phylum: Chordata
- Class: Aves
- Order: Piciformes
- Family: Picidae
- Genus: Picoides
- Species: P. pubescens
The Downy Woodpecker is common in wooded habitats, especially deciduous forests with patchy sections comprised of brush or trees. They are the smallest woodpecker in North America and have quite a large home range.
Downy Woodpeckers are distinguished from most other woodpeckers (aside from the Hairy Woodpecker, found in mature forests) by the white patch on their back and the white flanks. If you are able to handle a woodpecker, via techniques like mist netting, the Downy has black dots on the outer retrices (tail feathers). Be careful, as they can be more aggressive in hand than the Hairy. The bill of the Downy is short, often smaller than the head length.
Here’s a video featuring a very cute Downy showing you some of the feeding adaptations woodpeckers possess:
- Pileated Woodpecker (Dryocopus pileatus) – Woodpecker Week pt 1 (trushin.wordpress.com)
- The Sibley Field Guide to Birds of Eastern North America