People passionate about nature

Hairy Woodpecker

Above: Hairy Woodpecker (photo by Christian Artuso)

What Does It Look Like?

Familiar to many, the robin-sized Hairy Woodpecker is black with a large, white patch on the back, small white patches on the wings and two white stripes on the head.  Males have a patch of red on the back of the head.  The Hairy Woodpecker is larger than the superficially similar Downy Woodpecker and has a proportionately longer bill.

Above: Hairy Woodpecker (photo by Lynnea Parker)

Does It Migrate?

The Hairy Woodpecker is a year-long resident throughout much of North America, south of the treeline, and down to central America.

Where Does It Live?

Hairy Woodpeckers live and breed in mature deciduous and mixed forests. They are absent only from the far northerly regions of our province.

Above: Hairy Woodpecker (photo by Christian Artuso)

Where Can I See It?

Hairy Woodpeckers are often observed near neighbourhood bird feeders, as well as in city parks and cemetaries, and woodlots.


There are currently no conservation concerns, however, the loss and fragmentation of mature forests could have detrimental effects on the species' continued success.

Above: Hairy Woodpecker (photo by Christian Artuso)

Did You Know?

In parts of eastern North America, the parents' use of hardwood trees for nesting sites give their eggs and nestlings a better chance of escaping successful predation by black bears than some other woodpecker species!