Hairy Woodpecker

(Picoides villosus)

Hairy Woodpecker:

The most widespread resident woodpecker in North America, the Hairy Woodpecker is one of the most familiar too. It comes readily to bird feeders and is found in a variety of habitats and gardens.

Similar in appearance to the downy woodpecker except this bird is much larger.

a downy woodpecker on steroids.


Coming in at about 9 inches long (Downy is about 6"), this woodpecker is similar in appearance, but much larger then the small downy woodpecker.

The bird's bill is almost as long as the head whereas the Downy's bill is only about half as long as its head.

The upperparts are black and white; face with black and white stripes and the underparts are pure white.

The male has a red patch at the nape whereas the female has no red patch.

These birds can be found in mature forest, orchards, parks your gardens and feeders.

Woodpeckers are well adapted to maneuvering around tree trunks searching for insects and spiders.

Their toes—two facing forward, two facing backward—enable woodpeckers to grasp vertical tree trunks and their stiff tail feathers provide an extra measure of support.


The Hairy Woodpecker has a slow courtship that begins in deep winter.

Males drum on trees (as well as on metal eaves and gutters, house siding, poles, and trash cans) to announce their territory and attract a mate. Most species mate for a single season and share much of the work associated with nesting, including excavating a nest cavity, incubating eggs, and feeding young. Generally, woodpeckers lay a single clutch of white eggs,

Woodpeckers in southern states may raise two to three broods in a season.


Excavating a cavity in a tree anywhere from 3 to 55 feet above ground. The female lays from 3 to 6 white eggs laid on a bed of wood chips.

Often the male incubates the eggs at night and the female sits on the nest during the day. The eggs hatch in about 2 weeks. The young are born blind and featherless (altricial). Their eyes open in about 2 weeks and the young are ready to fledge in 28 to 30 days.

Often the young will stay with the adults in family groups until the end of summer or early fall.


These birds feed on wood-boring insects, berries, and seeds. At your backyard feeders, this woodpecker can be attracted by offering black oil sunflower seeds shelled peanuts ans especially suet.

Create a Habitat for Hairy Woodpeckers and Other Birds

Native Trees for Your Garden

Shrubs for Food and Protection

Other Common Birds

Feeding the Birds

Choosing the Right Feeders

Fresh Water for All Your Wildlife

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