Downy Woodpecker
Picoides pubescens
Nov. 18, 2012

Last week I updated my hairy woodpecker page; this week it seemed only fair to do the same for the downy woodpecker.

The downy woodpecker (Picoides pubescens) is the smallest woodpecker in central Pennsylvania (a convenient location for State College). The downy appears nearly identical to the hairy woodpecker except for the downy being smaller (about two-thirds the size) and having, relatively, a somewhat shorter bill. (I've a comparison page between the two here.)

As with the male hairy woodpecker, the male downy woodpecker has a red patch on the back of his head.

Male downy woodpecker
  The tree holes above were probably drilled by a yellow-bellied sapsucker.

The downy woodpecker is equally at home right side up or upside-down.

Male downy woodpecker
  The female downy woodpecker (shown working over sumac fruit) doesn't have any red on back of her head; otherwise, she's identical to the male.
Female downy woodpecker

At the suet feeder is a rare occurrence for me to see: male and female downy woodpeckers together.
Downy woodpecker upside-down
  Downy woodpeckers are the most common woodpecker to be seen but are always welcome.

Photo note: I used a Pentax K20D, with a variety of lenses, during 2011 and 2012 for these photos.

My Pennsylvania bird list

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