Picoides villosus
(Hairy Woodpecker)

Order: Piciformes
Order Description: Woodpeckers
Family: Picidae
Family Description: Woodpeckers

Physical Description:
8 1/2-10 1/2" (22-27 cm). A medium-sized, black-and-white woodpecker. Larger than its relative, the Downy. Black-and-white striped head with black eye-mask. Light belly and breast; white back; black wings with white spots; large bill. Tail black with white outer tail feathers. Male has small red patch on napeClick word for definition.

Similar Species- Downy Woodpecker, Strickland's Woodpecker

A loud, sharp, high-pitched peek!, and a short Kingfisher-like rattle.

Breeds from western and central Alaska, east to northern Saskatchewan and Newfoundland, and south to northern Baja California, highlands of Middle America, Gulf Coast, and southern Florida. Winters generally throughout breeding range; more northern populations are partially migratory.

Found in forests, open woodlands, swamps, well-wooded towns and parks, and open situations with scattered trees.

Eats mainly insects (beetles, ants, and caterpillars, but especially boring larvae). Also eats other invertebrates, and some fruits and nuts. Seeds may be important food in winter.

Uses various foraging substrates, ranging from dead and live trees to downed wood and ground. May concentrate feeding in areas of insect outbreaks. Nests in cavity in tree or standing snag. Uses tree cavities for roosting and winter cover. Female spends entire year on breeding territory, and is joined in late winter by male. Reported territory size is 0.6-15 ha (varies with habitat quality). In eastern U.S., individuals use forest areas of 2-4 ha or larger, though much larger area (possibly 12 ha) may be needed to support viable breeding population. In Iowa study, minimum width of riparianClick word for definition forest necessary to support breeding population was 40 m. Idaho study in hemlock and grand fir forests found species occurring in all life forms from burned and shrub areas to mature forests.

Both sexes incubateClick word for definition 3- 6 eggs (usually 4) for 11-12 days. Young leave nest at 28-30 days, rely on parents for about 2 more wk, and may return to nest to roostClick word for definition.

Element Code: ABNYF07040
Status: Protected nongame species
Global Rank: G5
State Rank: S3
National Rank: N5

Important State References:
Peterson, S.R. 1982. A preliminary survey of forest bird communities in northern Idaho. Northwest Sci. 56:287-298.

Photo by Marcus Martin,© 1999
Design by Ean Harker©1999, 2000.
Written by Jason Karl, 2000.