People passionate about nature

Downy Woodpecker

Photo by Garry Budyk


How do I recognize it?

Downy Woodpecker is North America’s smallest woodpecker, barely longer than a House Sparrow. Its plumage is virtually identical to that of its larger cousin, Hairy Woodpecker. It has black wings and tail with white spots, white back and black-and-white head markings; males sport a small patch of red on the back of the head. Besides its smaller size, it is best distinguished from Hairy Woodpecker by its daintier bill and softer call note.


Does it migrate?

Downy Woodpeckers are year-round residents of wooded and residential areas in the southern half of Manitoba.


Where does it live?

Deciduous or mixed woods, parks, treed gardens and shrubby areas are preferred. The species avoids pure coniferous forest.


Photo by Garry Budyk


Where can I see it?

The bird is widespread and can be found at any time of year in the above-mentioned habitats. It frequently visits feeders, especially if suet is provided.


Conservation Status.

There appear to be no threats to Downy Woodpecker populations. It is classified as “Least Concern”.


Photo by Garry Budyk


Did you know?

Territorial behaviour, which includes drumming, chasing and calling, may start in fall or winter, particularly on mild and sunny days.

Written by Rudolf Koes