Hairy Woodpecker (Picoides villosus)

Hairy Woodpecker

[order] PICIFORMES | [family] Picidae | [latin] Picoides villosus | [UK] Hairy Woodpecker | [FR] Pic chevelu | [DE] Haarspecht | [ES] Carpintero Serranero, Carpintero Ocotero (Mex), Checo Velloso (HN) | [NL] Haarspecht


Genus Species subspecies Breeding Range Breeding Range 2 Non Breeding Range
Picoides villosus NA, MA widespread
Picoides villosus audubonii se USA
Picoides villosus harrisi s British Columbia (Canada) to n California (USA)
Picoides villosus hyloscopus w and s California (USA), n Baja California (Mexico)
Picoides villosus icastus se Arizona, sw New Mexico (USA) to w Mexico
Picoides villosus jardinii c and ec Mexico
Picoides villosus maynardi s Bahamas
Picoides villosus orius British Columbia (Canada) to se California and w Texas (USA)
Picoides villosus picoideus Queen Charlotte Is. (off British Columbia, Canada)
Picoides villosus piger n Bahamas
Picoides villosus sanctorum s Mexico to w Panama
Picoides villosus septentrionalis w North America from s Alaska to Ontario (Canada) to New Mexico (USA)
Picoides villosus sitkensis se Alaska and n British Columbia (Canada)
Picoides villosus terraenovae Newfoundland (Canada)
Picoides villosus villosus se Canada, nc and ne USA

Physical charateristics

Note thewhite back and i large bill. The Downy and Hairy are almost identical in pattern, checkered and spotted with black and white; Males
with a small red patch on the back of the head, b females without. The Hairy is like an exaggerated Downy, especially the bill. Hairys of the humid northwestern belt have a soiled tinge on the back and smoky underparts.

Listen to the sound of Hairy Woodpecker

[audio: Woodpecker.mp3]

Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto

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North America, Middle America : widespread


Forests, woodlands, river groves, shade tree
Accepts a wide variety of habitats so long as large trees are present; found in deciduous, coniferous, and mixed forest, groves along rivers in prairie country, open juniper woodland, swamps. In Southwest and from Mexico to Panama found in mountain fores
ts, mostly of pine, but also in cloud forest in Central America.


Male and female may maintain separate territories in early winter, pairing up in midwinter, often with mate from previous year. Female’s winter territory becomes focus of nesting territory. Courtship includes both birds drumming in duet
; fluttering display flights; ritualized tapping at symbolic nest sites by female.
b Nest: Site is cavity (excavated by both sexes), mainly in deciduous trees in East, in aspens or dead conifers in West. Cavity usually 4-60′ above ground. No nest material other than wood chips in cavity.
b Eggs: 4, sometimes 3-6. White. Incubation is by both sexes (with male incubating at night, female most of day), about 14 days.
b Young: Both parents feed the nestlings. Male may forage farther from nest, making fewer feeding trips with more food each time. Young leave nest 28-
30 days after hatching, are fed by parents for some time afterward. 1 brood per year.

Feeding habits

Mostly insects.
Feeds especially on larvae of wood-boring beetles, also other beetles, ants, caterpillars, and others. Also eats some berries, seeds, nuts. Will feed on sap at damaged trees or at sapsucker workings, and will come to bird feeders for suet.
b Behavior:
Forages mainly on the trunks and limbs of trees, sometimes on vines, shrubs. Energetic in its search, often probing, scaling off bark, and excavating into dead wood in pursuit of insects. Males may forage more deliberately than females, working longer in
one spot.


This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). The population trend appears to be increasing, and hence the species does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is extremely large, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.
Hairy Woodpecker status Least Concern


Alaska, Canada to Panama. b Migration:
Mostly a permanent resident. Some birds from northern edge of range may move well south in winter, and a few from western mountains move to lower elevations.

Distribution map

Hairy Woodpecker distribution range map

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