Downy Woodpecker

Downy Woodpecker

Downy Woodpecker
(Dryobates pubescens)

Order:  Piciformes
Family:  Picidae

Male Downy Woodpecker
Photo by Wolfgang Wander [CC SA 3.0]

Downy Woodpecker Information

Length:  5.8 - 6.5"

Habitat:  Deciduous and mixed woodlands (favors bottomlands), forest edges, farmyards, orchards, parks, residential areas.

Diet:  Mostly insects, including beetles and their larvae, wood-boring ants, caterpillars, and scale insects; spiders; some seeds and berries.

  Calls & drumming of Downy Woodpecker

Preferred Bird Feeder Food

Like many woodpeckers, the downy woodpecker prefers suet, but will also eat black oil sunflower seeds, hulled sunflower seeds, peanut hearts, and chunky peanut butter.

Suet should be offered in a suet cage. A platform feeder is ideal for the other seeds and peanut hearts. Peanut butter can be spread on pine cones or suet logs and hung near the feeder.

Additional Information

Downy Woodpecker
Habitat, diet, feeding behavior, nesting, migration, and conservation status of this bird. Includes range map, photos, and songs and calls. (From Audubon Field Guide)

Female Downy Woodpecker

Female Downy Woodpecker

Credit: Ken Thomas

Male Downy Woodpecker

Male Downy Woodpecker

Photo © Mike Danzenbaker

Downy Woodpecker
Identification Tips

  • Very small black and white woodpecker
  • Very short bill
  • Mostly black head set off by broad white supercilium and lower border to auriculars
  • Black nape
  • White back
  • Black wings with white spotting on coverts and flight feathers
  • White underparts
  • Black rump
  • Black tail with white outer tail feathers barred with black
Adult Male
  • Red spot at rear of head

(Credit: U. S. Geological Survey)

Downy Woodpecker
Breeding Bird Survey Map,

Downy Woodpecker Breeding Map

(Image credit: USGS)

Range in New England

The Downy Woodpecker is found year-round in the New England region.

Downy Woodpecker
Range Maps from Cornell

Downy Woodpecker year-round range

Includes separate map of sightings.

Downy Woodpecker
Christmas Bird Count Map

Historical CBC Map from USGS