Pileated Woodpecker Facts and Information

Dryocopus pileatus


If you are familiar with the delightful cartoon character Woody Woodpecker then you have an idea of the Pileated Woodpecker. It has red hair that is long on top of the head so it is easy to identify. They have a long neck that has thick stripes of black and white on it. They also have red before the charcoal looking bill. The rest of the body is black and there is white under the feathers that are only visible when the bird is in flight.

Pileated Woodpecker Description

This is one of the largest of all Woodpeckers found in North America. The body is from 16 to 19 inches long. They don’t weigh a full pound and some of them only weigh about 10 ounces. The Pileated Woodpecker can offer a wingspan up to 30 inches wide. The design of the head is created in a manner that the constant hammering they do against the trees doesn’t cause them any adverse effects.

Class Aves
Order Piciformes
Family Picidae
Genus Dryocopus
Conservation status Least Concern

Pileated Woodpecker Distribution

This Woodpecker is very prominent throughout North America. They can be identified in just about any areas of the United States. They thrive around regions that offer them plenty of dead trees. They seem to thrive anywhere that they can find enough habitat and food.

Pileated Woodpecker Behavior

The loud ringing calls of the Pileated Woodpecker can be heard several miles away. In many regions where they live close to humans those sounds can be alarming. They can certainly give people not used to them a jolt. What is also annoying is that they can continue for long periods of time and people simply get tired of hearing those calls.

One of the problems with the power of the bill from the Pileated Woodpecker is that it can prove to be too much for a tree that is already damaged. Their drumming away at it can result in it breaking off and falling over.

Pileated Woodpecker Facts

Pileated Woodpecker – Dryocopus pileatus

Pileated Woodpecker Feeding

Using their powerful bill they will hammer away at the trees. This enables them to get to insects, carpenter ants, beetles, and other sources of food from inside of the it. They tend to go around areas that have damaged or dead trees to find their food. They do play a very important role in keeping these types of prey from becoming over populated.

They have a very sticky substance on their tongues. This allows them to gather tons of ants at once when they are feeding. They have big appetites compared to other Woodpeckers. They are diligent in their efforts and will spend long periods of time searching for food to eat.

Pileated Woodpecker Reproduction

Once a pair has decided to mate with each other they will find a dead or decaying tree to create their nest in. They will create a hole in it that the nest is placed into. This is safer for the eggs and the young than being placed out there on the ends of branches. During the day the female will incubate them and at night it will be the males turn.

The female will lay up to 4 eggs in the nest. They will need about 2 weeks before they start to emerge. They can be at 1 or 2 day intervals so there will be some chicks that are much larger than the rest. If there is a lack of food the resources that both parents bring back will go to the bigger and stronger ones.

When the young Pileated Woodpeckers are about a month old they are ready to fly on their own. They will stay with the parents for about 4 more weeks before they fly off to take care of their own needs.

Pileated Woodpecker Information

Pileated Woodpecker Facts and Information



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