Downy is the smallest Woodpecker in North America. It's found in
residential areas and parks throughout the state, and very readily will
forage at home feeders. During the winter, they are often found with
mixed flocks including other species such as chickadees and nuthatches. Note the very similar markings of the Hairy
Woodpecker, which has a larger size and longer bill. A male is
pictured to the right. Females are similar, but don't have the red
patch on the back of the head (see photos at bottom of the page).
Habitat: Woodlands, River groves, orchards, residential trees.
Diet: Mostly insects. Also eats
seeds and berries, as well as nuts and suet at feeders.
Behavior: Will forage at nearly any level of
vegetation. Due to it's small size, it can climb through smaller
branches and twigs when looking for food than can many other woodpeckers.
Nesting: May through July. The nest of a Downy
Woodpecker is a cavity in a tree. The female lays between 3 and 6 eggs, and both
parents help to incubate them. When the eggs hatch, both parents help feed
and tend to the young. The young leave the nest after about 3 weeks.
Bird Feeders: Sunflower seeds, nuts,
peanut butter, suet.
Cornell University's "All About Birds - Downy Woodpecker"
Photo Information: November 7th, 2007 -
Big Sioux Recreation Area
near Brandon, South Dakota - Terry Sohl
Additional Photos: Click on the image chips or
text links below for additional, higher-resolution Downy Woodpecker photos.