Pileated Woodpecker

pileated woodpecker sitting on a log in the forest
Pileated woodpecker

NPS Photo / Jeremy Stringfield

Dryocopus pileatus

Pileated woodpeckers can be found in much of the eastern half of the United States, southern Canada, and the Pacific Northwest. These large birds flourish in the forest ecosystems of the Big Thicket. However, habitat destruction has impacted the pileated woodpecker population; they are not as common as they once were.

The majority of their diet is made up of insects, especially ants. They are known to excavate rotting wood in search of carpenter ants.

Pileated woodpecker males defend territories by drumming on trees and with various vocalizations. They will also display to attract females by spreading their wings and doing flight displays. Both parents will search for potential nest sites by drumming on dead trees. They will also work together to excavate a cavity to build a nest in. Both parents will help incubate the eggs and feed the newly hatched chicks. Chicks leave the nest within a month of hatching but can remain with the parents for up to three months.

 
 
 
Blanc, L. A., & Walters, J. R. (2008). Cavity-nest webs in a longleaf pine ecosystem. The Condor, 110(1), 80-92.

Harness, R. E., & Walters, E. L. (2005). Woodpeckers and utility pole damage. IEEE Industry Applications Magazine, 11(2), 68-73.

Kaufman, K. (2001). Lives of North American Birds. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

Shackelford, C. E., & Conner, R. N. (1997). Woodpecker abundance and habitat use in three forest types in eastern Texas. The Wilson Bulletin, 614-629.
 

Pileated Woodpeckers in the National Parks

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