Downy Woodpecker (Picoides pubescens)

A male Downy Woodpecker on Sideling Hill, Washington Co., Maryland (10/3/2009).

Above and below: A male Downy Woodpecker on Sideling Hill, Washington Co., Maryland (10/3/2009). The second photo emphasizes the distinctive nasal bristles that keep debris out of its naval passage while foraging.

A male Downy Woodpecker on Sideling Hill, Washington Co., Maryland (10/3/2009).

Above: I was surprised to find this female Downy Woodpecker feeding on the narrow stalk of a cattail. Frederick Co., Maryland (4/22/2007). Below: A male Downy Woodpecker poses amidst fall foliage in Allegany Co., Maryland (9/30/2007).

Below: A male Downy Woodpecker along the C&0 Canal in Allegany Co., Maryland (12/3/2006).

Below: A male Downy Woodpecker in Carroll Co., Maryland (1/5/2009).

Below: A male Downy Woodpecker photographed in southern Pennsylvania (11/26/2005).

Below: A male Downy Woodpecker on Assateague Island, Maryland (11/4/2007).


Comments:  North America's smallest woodpecker is a common year-round resident throughout most of the U.S. It's small size allows it to feed among smaller shrubs and branches than its larger relatives. The closely related Hairy Woodpecker is larger and has a much longer bill. The red spot on the male's head--the occipital spot, if you will--distinguishes it from a female.


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