The adult Hairy Woodpecker are mainly black on the upper parts and wings, with a white or pale back and white spotting on the wings; the throat and belly vary from white to sooty brown, depending on subspecies. There is a white bar above and one below the eye.They have a black tail with white outer feathers. Adult males have a red patch or two side-by-side patches on the back of the head; juvenile males have red or rarely orange-red on the crown. This bird measures from 18 to 26 cm (7.1 to 10 in) in length, 33 to 43 cm (13 to 17 in) in wingspan and 40 to 95 g in weight.

Habitat and Distribution

The Hairy Woodpecker inhabits mature deciduous forests in the Bahamas, Canada, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Puerto Rico, Saint Pierre and Miquelon, Turks and Caicos Islands, and the United States. They to re also found in woodlots, suburbs, parks, and cemeteries, as well as forest edges.


These birds forage on trees, often turning over bark or excavating. They mainly eat insects, also fruits, berries and nuts, sometimes tree sap. They are also known to peck at wooden window frames and wood sided homes.


Mating pairs will excavate a hole in a tree, where they will tend to, on average, four white eggs.

Calls and Songs

The call is a piercing, sharp peek or pee-ik.