With a total length ranging from 14 to 18 cm (5.5 to 7.1 in), a wingspan of 25 to 31 cm (9.8 to 12 in) and body mass between 20 and 33 g the Downy Woodpecker is considered the smallest of America 's Woodpeckers. It is mainly black on the upperparts and wings, with a white back, throat and belly and white spotting on the wings. There is a white bar above the eye and one below. They have a black tail with white outer feathers barred with black. Adult males have a red patch on the back of the head whereas juvenile birds display a red cap.

Habitat and Distribution

Their breeding habitat is forested areas, mainly deciduous, across most of North America to Central America. These birds are mostly permanent residents but they migrate further south and birds in mountanious areas may move to lower elevations.


They forage on trees, picking the bark surface in summer and digging deeper in winter. They mainly eat insects, also seeds and berries.


Downy Woodpeckers nest in a tree cavity excavated by the nesting pair in a dead tree or limb.

Calls and Songs

The Downy Woodpecker gives a short pik call. It also produces a drumming sound with its beak as it pecks into trees.