Pileated Woodpecker

Today we will discuss Pileated Woodpecker. With its name, it is clear that it belongs to the woodpecker family. To know more about this breed scroll below. 

Pileated Woodpecker

  • It has a red crown, white stripes on the face and neck, and a primarily black body.
  • On their cheek, males have a crimson stripe.
  • The bird’s large white underwings are visible in flight, as are the little white crescents at the bases of the primaries on the upper side.

Scientific Name

Dryocopus pileatus

Read also: Barn Owl


  • Large and primarily black, the pileated woodpecker (Dryocopus pileatus) origin from North America.
  • It lives in deciduous forests in eastern North America, the Great Lakes, Canada’s boreal forests, and some areas of the Pacific Coast.
  • It is an insectivore.



  • The size of the birds is the first thing to note.
  • One of the largest woodpeckers found in North America, it is around 15 inches in length.


  • They have a red crest and are primarily black, with white stripes on their face and neck.
  • On their cheek, males have a crimson stripe.
  • The bird’s large white underwings are visible in flight, as are the little white crescents at the bases of the primaries on the upper side.


  • The pileated woodpecker has a wingspan of up to 30 inches and is frequently compared to the American crow.


Flying Behavior 

  • The Pileated Woodpecker covers its wings in the middle of the upstroke, but during a transitory right after taking off, it uses a different wing action and a faster flap rate

Mating Behavior

  • These birds dance while mating.
  • Pair ties frequently last a lifetime, and pairings stick together all year.
  • The pairs spend the night roosting in various places during the fall and winter.

Feeding Behavior

  • Large dead wood, such as standing dead trees, stumps, or logs laying on the forest floor, is where they forage. 


  • Despite having a similar appearance overall, male and female pileated woodpeckers differ in one specific way.
  • Malar stripes, often known as red mustaches or stripes, are present on the cheeks of males.
  • Black stripes are present on females. These reasonably long-lived birds have a lifespan of 12 years.

Food & Diet 

  • The woodpecker primarily consumes insects and their larvae, although they may consume other foods.
  • Bird eggs, young birds, small rodents, reptiles, fruits, and even tree sap are examples of this.
  • Because they consume the emerald ash borer insect larvae, which decimated millions of ash trees in North America, they are also environmentally benign.

Habitat & Range

  • Forested areas all over Canada, the eastern United States, and portions of the Pacific Coast serve as the pileated woodpecker’s breeding grounds.
  • This bird prefers thickly forested parks and mature woodlands.
  • They frequently inhabit big areas of forest and favor mesic settings with massive, mature hardwood trees.

Pileated Woodpecker Call ‘OR’ Sound

  • It is a very vocal bird, frequently emitting a long, sustained succession of high, clear piping sounds.
  • Although it tends to be more resonant and less even in tone, with fluctuating emphasis or rhythm during the call, the sound is quite similar to a Northern Flicker’s rattling call.


  • Late in March and early in April, they dug nest holes, incubated eggs between 13 May and 15 June, and fledged young between 26 June and 13 July.
  • Some of these birds lived at least nine years and began nesting at one year of age.


  • They are monogamous.
  • Each season, they only lay one clutch. For about 16 days, both the male and female incubate up to 5 white eggs.
  • Pileated Woodpeckers have been seen transporting their eggs out of the nest and to another location, just in case the dead tree collapses due to degradation or severe wind. 


  • Two to five eggs are laid per female.
  • The eggs are kept warm by both parents alternately over the 12–14 days of incubation.
  • A chick develops swiftly after it first hatches and is prepared to leave the nest in around 30 days.
  • Pileated Woodpecker have a four to twelve-year lifespan on average.
  • Depending on the surroundings, some people can live up to 30 years.

Types Of Pileated Woodpecker

Downy Woodpecker

  • The downy woodpecker, which can grow up to 7 inches long, is the smallest species of woodpecker found in North America.
  • They typically reside in tree cavities dug out by nesting pairs in forested settings.

Gila Woodpecker

  • It is a medium-sized woodpecker that lives in western Mexico and the southwestern United States.
  • Its size ranges from 8 to 10 inches.
  • In the low desert scrub of the Sonoran desert, these woodpeckers like to build their nests in saguaro cacti.

Hairy Woodpecker

  • The hairy woodpecker resembles the downy woodpecker in appearance and can reach a length of about 10 inches.
  • It is well known for these birds to pursue pileated woodpeckers and sift through insects that the larger birds may have missed.

Pileated Woodpecker

  • Native to North America, the pileated woodpecker is a big species that can reach a length of 19 inches.
  • These birds roost at night in enormous holes they have dug within dead trees.
  • They like older woodlands.

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker

  • The yellow-bellied sapsucker lives in Canada and the northern United States and has a size range of 7-8 inches.
  • These migratory birds spend the summer months as far south as Panama.


  • About 20 of the 250 species of Pileated Woodpecker that have been identified have had dangerously low populations, primarily as a result of habitat degradation.
  • There are no longer any Bermuda flickers.
  • The imperial, Okinawa and ivory-billed woodpeckers are all listed as critically endangered. The imperial and ivory-billed species are thought to have gone extinct by many ornithologists.

Conservation & Threats

  • Forest fragmentation, monoculture forestry, plantation-style forestry, clearance of felled timber from the forest floor, and conversion of forest ecosystems to non-forested habitats are among the other hazards thought to have the biggest effect on species extinction.

Reference Link

Pileated Woodpecker-FAQ

What does a female Pileated Woodpecker look like?

Large woodpecker with a body that is mostly black. Female bears a red crest and gray-black forecrown, but she lacks the male’s red mustache mark. As it searches for insect larvae under bark or inside wood, it frequently feeds in the same place for extended periods of time.

What does Pileated Woodpecker mean?

It is a big North American woodpecker with red crown and crest and mostly black plumage.

How big is a Pileated Woodpecker eat?

Carpenter ants are the Pileated Woodpecker’s main food source; other ants, woodboring beetle larvae, termites, and other insects like flies, spruce budworm, caterpillars, cockroaches, and grasshoppers round out its diet.

What does seeing a Pileated Woodpecker mean?

Native American tribes considered woodpeckers to be a sign of prophets and messengers between worlds as well as the voyage into astral planes. Dreaming about a Pileated Woodpecker may indicate increased fertility or output.

Are Pileated Woodpecker aggressive?

They are aggressive toward everyone throughout the breeding season, but especially the cavity-nesters. Red-bellied, downy, and northern flickers are all victims of their persecution. A woodpecker battles and prevails if a starling attempts to steal a red-headed woodpecker’s nest hole. To this bird, even the pileated woodpecker yields.

What is the most common woodpecker in Florida?

The Red-bellied Woodpecker is the most prevalent in Florida. It will always announce its arrival with a resounding “Churrr” and loud drumming call. Its supposedly red belly is actually white with a very faint hint of red.