Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Downy Woodpecker - Female (Picoides pubescens)



At around 6 3/4" (17cm) long, the Downy Woodpecker (Picoides pubescens) is the smallest of North America's classic-shaped woodpeckers.  It is found throughout almost all of North America in a variety of habitats.  The Downy is the woodpecker most likely to visit backyard feeders.  It is by far the most common woodpecker at our feeders here in the Arkansas Ozarks.


The Downy Woodpecker looks very similar to the Hairy Woodpecker, but the Hairy is larger -- around 9 1/4" (24cm) long.  The Hairy also has a proportionally larger bill, (usually almost equal to the depth of the head).  Finally, the outer tail feathers of the Downy usually have faint dark bars or spots while those on a Hairy are pure white.

 A male Downy Woodpecker has a red patch on the back of its head.  A juvenile has a red cap.







The Downy Woodpecker sharing our suet feeder with another "D" bird, a Dark-eyed Junco.





The Downy Woodpecker partaking of the pseudo-suet mixture of peanut butter, cornmeal and lard we provide.



Please visit ABC Wednesday and Camera Critters to participate and/or enjoy other photos from around the world.

.
Share/Bookmark

24 comments:

Sherry said...

That junco has an evil look -- pure projection on my part.

I love the downy woodpeckers. We have a pair that come to our feeders in winter. My camera isn't good enough to capture them.

Lisa at Greenbow said...

Good pictures of the "D" birds. The junco looks like it is trying to figure out how to get some of that pnutbutter.

Pat - Arkansas said...

I saw a Downy Woodpecker (female) at my suet feeder only yesterday. Woodpeckers are not frequent visitors to my neighborhood, and I'm always pleased to see (or hear) one.

Super photos, Marvin!

Jedediah said...

The junco peeking around the tree made me laugh, he's cute. Gorgeous photos.

Sylvia K said...

I do love your photos of the downy woodpeckers -- it's such fun to see them "up close and personal" for a change! Hope you're having a good week!

Sylvia
ABC Team

photowannabe said...

When we first moved into our home 3 years ago, we discovered some in our trees. It makes me sad, I haven't seen them since. I fear the neighbor's cat got them.
Great info. Thanks.

jabblog said...

Fabulous little birds! It's such fun watching them on the feeders.

VioletSky said...

Neither my camera nor my eye is good enough to see clearly the differences. Your photos are great.

EG Wow said...

Wonderful photos. We have both downy and hairy woodpeckers who regularly come to our feeders, otherwise I probably would not know the difference as they do look very much alike.

Jane and Chris said...

The woodpecker family are incredible birds;they have a very long tongue which wraps itself around a gap the skull when not in use....clever eh?
Jane x

Christine said...

What beautiful photos, Marvin! I love woodpeckers. We have from the small ladder-backs to the large pileated. I wish my camera skills would allow me to get shots like yours. :)

Tumblewords: said...

Terrific photos! I see or hear woodpeckers every now and then but rarely catch such sights as you have!

Roger Owen Green said...

cute bird, great choice
ROG, ABC Wednesday team

Wanda said...

Love these pictures. When I was in first grade we had to learn a poem to say in front of the class.

Mine was:

"The woodpecker pecked out a little round hole,
And made him a house in the telephone pole."

I never forgot it!!

scrabblepodcast said...

Cool! Grew up birding, I always used to think of 'down' meaning less, or smaller, as a way to remember that the downy was smaller than the hairy.

photowannabe said...

Hi, thanks for visiting my blog and writing a nice comment. You said too bad it didn't have a moat and drawbridge. Actually it did have those on one side of the building but I couldn't get a picture of them. Its quite a fascinating place.

Candace said...

Great photos!!

Dhemz said...

wow! how awesome...:) Check out my ABC Wednesday entry too! Thanks a lot, much appreciated!

Crafty Gardener said...

lovely photos of the woodpecker

Iowa Gardening Woman said...

Great shots of the Downy and I love the one with the junco peaking around the trunk of the tree.

twobarkingdogs said...

great photos!

Marie said...

Wonderful photos! But I think I agree with Sherry about that Junco -- he's up to no good :-)

Visiting from the Camera Critters Meme.

Marie
bonkersinbarnhart.com

ladyfi said...

So cute, especially that pic with another bird peeking around the tree trunk...

Johnny Nutcase said...

these are great! the one with the junco - what timing! :)