Hairy WoodpeckerPicoides villosus

adult male, Interior West
Rolf Nussbaumer/VIREO
adult female, Interior West
Spike Baker/VIREO
adult female, Pacific
Joe Fuhrman/VIREO
adult male, Eastern
Glenn Bartley/VIREO
adult male, Eastern
Frank Schleicher/VIREO
adult male, Pacific
Glenn Bartley/VIREO
Hairy Woodpecker



9" (23 cm). A robin-sized woodpecker. Black and white, with unspotted white back and long bill; male has red head patch. Like most woodpeckers it has an undulating flight. See Downy Woodpecker.


A sharp, distinctive peek, louder than that of Downy Woodpecker; also a loud rattle on 1 pitch.


tweek & sputters #1
begging young & adult calls at nest
interaction calls
tweeks & sputters #2


Deciduous forest; more widespread in winter and during migration.


Resident from Alaska and across Canada south throughout United States to Gulf of Mexico. Some northern birds migrate south for winter.


The Hairy Woodpecker is more a forest bird and is shyer than its smaller relative, the Downy Woodpecker. The Hairy Woodpecker feeds on many harmful insects, such as wood-boring beetles, which it extracts from holes with its barbed tongue. Like other woodpeckers, it drums on a dead limb as part of its courtship ceremony and to proclaim its territory.


4 white eggs in a hole in a tree.

Similar Species

Black-backed Woodpecker

9" (23 cm). A robin-sized woodpecker. Solid black back, barred flanks, white below. Male has yellow crown; female has solid black crown. See Three-toed Woodpecker.

adult male

Arizona Woodpecker

7-8" (18-20 cm). An unstreaked, brown-backed woodpecker, with brown crown and brown ear patch on white face. Underparts spotted and barred with brown. Male distinguished by red nape.

adult male

Red-cockaded Woodpecker

8" (20 cm). Cap and nape black; large white cheek patch; back barred black and white; white below with black spots on sides and flanks. Male has small, hard-to-see red spot behind eye.

adult male

Nuttall's Woodpecker

7-7 1/2" (18-19 cm). Similar to Ladder-backed Woodpecker, but with black cheeks and wider black bars on back; black and white areas more sharply contrasting.

adult male, Eastern

Downy Woodpecker

6" (15 cm). A sparrow-sized, black and white woodpecker. Small red patch on nape in males. Similar to Hairy Woodpecker, but smaller and with short, stubby bill.

adult male

Ladder-backed Woodpecker

7" (18 cm). Barred black and white back; strong facial pattern forms triangle on buffy-white cheek. Male has red cap, female has black cap.

adult male

American Three-toed Woodpecker

8 1/2" (22 cm). A robin-sized woodpecker. Similar to Black-backed Woodpecker, but smaller; bill shorter; back barred black and white. Male has yellow crown; female has solid black crown.


iPad Promo