Pileated Woodpecker (Dryocopus pileatus)

Pileated Woodpecker

[order] PICIFORMES | [family] Picidae | [latin] Dryocopus pileatus | [UK] Pileated Woodpecker | [FR] Grand Pic | [DE] Helmspecht | [ES] Picamaderos Norteamericano | [NL] Noordamerikaanse Helmspecht


Genus Species subspecies Breeding Range Breeding Range 2 Non Breeding Range
Dryocopus pileatus NA e, nw USA, s Canada
Dryocopus pileatus abieticola s Canada south through w, nc and ne USA
Dryocopus pileatus pileatus se USA

Physical charateristics

A spectacular black, i crow-sized woodpecker, with a flaming red i crest.
The female has a blackish forehead, lacks red on the mustache. The great size, sweeping wingbeats, and flashing white underwing areas identify the Pileated in flight. The diggings–large i oval or i oblong
holes–indicate its presence.

Listen to the sound of Pileated Woodpecker

[audio:http://www.aviflevoland.nl/sounddb/P/Pileated Woodpecker.mp3]

Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto

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North America : East, Northwest USA, South Canada


Conifer, mixed, and hardwood forests; woodlot
Favors mature deciduous or mixed deciduous-coniferous forest, also coniferous forest. Wide variety of specific forest types from southern swamps to old-growth Douglas-fir forest of Northwest. Also in second-growth and fragmented woodlots, as long as some
large trees are present.


Territory is defended with loud drumming and ringing calls. Courtship displays include spreading wings (showing off whit
e wing patch), raising crest, swinging head back and forth, gliding display flight. At prospective nest site, both sexes may tap or drum on wood.
b Nest: Site is a cavity in a dead tree or in dead branch of a live tree, sometimes in utility pole, usually 15-
80′ above ground. Generally makes a new cavity each year, with both sexes helping to excavate. No nest material other than wood chips in bottom of cavity.
b Eggs: 3-5. White. Incubation is by both sexes (male incubating at night and part of day), about 18 days.
b Young: Both parents feed nestlings, by regurgitation. Young leave nest 26-28 days after hatching, may remain with parents 2-3 months.

Feeding habits

Mostly ants and other insects, also fruits, nuts. Carpenter ants may be up to 60 percent of diet; also eats other ants (rarely digging into anthills on ground), termites, larvae of wood-b
oring beetles, other insects. About a quarter of the diet may be wild fruits, berries, and nuts.
b Behavior:
Forages mainly by probing, prying, and excavating in dead wood in search of insects. May gouge deep holes in rotten wood to get at ant nests, sometimes tearing apart stumps and big sections of fallen logs. May clamber about acrobatically in small branche
s to get at berries.


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 very 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.
Pileated Woodpecker status Least Concern


Canada to Florida, local in western United States. b
Migration: Permanent resident, but individuals sometimes wander far from breeding areas.

Distribution map

Pileated Woodpecker distribution range map

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