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Hairy Woodpecker Picoides villosus


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Hairy Woodpecker, male
credit: Mdf/CCSA

© Lang Elliot/ (audio)

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Family: Picidae, Woodpeckers view all from this family

Description ADULT MALE Has mainly black upperparts with a white back and white barring and spots on wing. Head has black crown, ear coverts, mustache (linked to black shoulders), and lower nape; upper nape is red. Underparts and rest of face are whitish. Newfoundland ssp. terranovae and Florida ssp. audubonii have greatly reduced amount of white on back; latter has buff-washed underparts. ADULT FEMALE Similar to respective subspecies male, but nape is entirely black. JUVENILE Similar to adult female, but crown has reddish patch.

Dimensions Length: 9" (23 cm)

Habitat Widespread and fairly common resident of all types of deciduous and coniferous woodland, as well as wooded parks and gardens.

Observation Tips Easy to see in suitable habitats.

Range Great Lakes, Mid-Atlantic, Texas, Plains, Eastern Canada, Florida, Southeast, Alaska, Rocky Mountains, Southwest, Northwest, Western Canada, New England, California

Voice Utters a rasping cheek and a rattling whinny. Drumming is rapid.

Discussion Similar to Downy, but appreciably larger. Our most widespread woodpecker. Variation exists in size and markings across North America, with many geographically distinct subspecies. Northern birds tend to be largest, with cleaner-looking white areas; ssp. villosus, widespread in east, is described here, unless otherwise specified. Sexes are separable with care.