The Downy Woodpecker (Picoides pubescens) grows to 6 inches long, with a wingspan of 11.5 inches. It is the smallest American woodpecker found north of Mexico. It is a versatile bird, and can be found in almost any wooded environment, where they excavate their nests from dead wood. Downy woodpeckers are similar in appearance to Hairy woodpeckers- one main difference is size, both overall and size of the bill. Hairy woodpeckers can grow to 9 inches long and their bills are about twice as long as those of Downy woodpeckers. It can be distinguished from all woodpeckers except for the Hairy by the white patch on the back and its mostly unmarked whitish flanks. Because of the Downy's light weight, it can forage on dry cornstalks, small twigs and tall weeds, but its diet mostly consists of a variety of insects, especially wood-boring ones. Its call is a quick pikk, or a high-pitched descending whinny.
Last updated: April 14, 2015