Hairy Woodpeckers are between 9 and 13
inches (16.5 to 26 cm) in length. They are a
black-and-white woodpecker with a long, chisel-tipped
bill. Females are slightly smaller and less bulky than
Hairy Woodpeckers find their food by feeling the
vibrations made by insects moving about in the wood. They
also can hear the insects munch on the wood!
Description: Hairy Woodpeckers have a
black forehead and crown; males have a red patch on their
nape, whereas females have a black nape. A wide white
supercilium with a broad black band extends through the
eye to the ear coverts, then down the neck. The
moustachial stripe is black, broadening on the neck. A
black comma extends from the side of the neck to the
upper breast. The chin and throat are white. The lower
neck, sides of mantle, rump, and uppertail coverts are
black. The back is almost entirely white. The upper
coverts are black with large white spots. There is
variation in the extent of the white spots across these
coverts: with Pacific Northwest, southwestern, and
southern races show little white on the wings. Flight
feathers have white barring. The tail is centrally black
with white outer tail feathers.
Conservation fact: Although stable or
increasing in numbers across most of the U.S., the Hairy
Woodpecker has become rare and local in Florida and
adjacent Georgia, where it continues to decline. In this
region, the Hairy is found strictly in mature pine
forests and strongly prefers recently burned areas.
Natural wildfires play a vital ecological role in the
southeastern U.S., and fire suppression by humans has
made many species--including the Hairy Woodpecker--become
threatened in this region.
Woodpecker Range Map
A fairly numerous and widespread species, there are 14
recognized races of Hairy Woodpecker in North America.
These are distinguished by
* color of pale areas
* amount of white on wing
Confusion with Downy Woodpeckers.
The range of Hairy and Downy woodpeckers overlaps across
North America. Both are black-and-white woodpeckers, but
they can be easily discriminated.
* Hairy Woodpeckers are larger.
* Hairy Woodpeckers have bills that are equal to or
longer than the length of their head, whereas the Downy
Woodpecker's bill length is shorter than its head.
* Hairy Woodpeckers have a black comma extending to the
upper breast whereas Downy Woodpeckers do not.
* The white outer tail feathers of Hairy Woodpeckers are
entirely white, whereas Downy Woodpeckers have spotted
outer tail feathers.
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Bird Supply to see our selection of Woodpecker
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