Pileated Woodpecker

Pileated Woodpecker
Pileated Woodpecker
Male in a tree
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Piciformes
Family: Picidae
Genus: Dryocopus
Species: D. pileatus
Binomial name
Dryocopus pileatus
(Linnaeus, 1758)

The Pileated Woodpecker (Dryocopus pileatus) is a very large North American woodpecker, almost crow sized, inhabiting deciduous forests in eastern North America, the Great Lakes, the boreal forests of Canada, and parts of the Pacific coast. It is also the largest woodpecker in America.

Adults (40 to 49 centimetres (16 to 19 in) long; 250 to 350 grams (8.8 to 12 oz) mass) are mainly black with a red crest and a white line down the sides of the throat. They show white on the wings in flight. Adult males have a red line from the bill to the throat, in adult females these are black.[2] The only North American birds of similar plumage and size are the Ivory-billed Woodpecker of the Southeastern United States and Cuba, and the related Imperial Woodpecker of Mexico. However, unlike the Pileated, both of those species are extremely rare, if not extinct. Most reports of the Ivory-billed Woodpecker are believed to be erroneous reports of the far more common Pileated.

The call is a wild laugh, similar to the Northern Flicker. Its drumming can be very loud, often sounding like someone striking a tree with a hammer. This bird favors mature forests and heavily wooded parks.


Distribution and habitat

Their breeding habitat is forested areas with large trees across Canada, the eastern United States and parts of the Pacific coast.


Male excavating a nest hole

These birds mainly eat insects, especially carpenter ants and wood-boring beetle larvae, fruits, and nuts. They often chip out large and roughly rectangular holes in trees while searching out insects.[2]

Pileated Woodpeckers raise their young every year in a hole in a tree. In April the hole made by the male attracts a female for mating and raising their young. Once the brood is raised, the Pileated Woodpeckers abandon the hole and will not use it the next year. When abandoned, these holes—made similarly by all woodpeckers—provide good homes in future years for many forest song birds. Ecologically, the entire woodpecker family is important to the well being of many other bird species.

They usually excavate large nests in the cavities of dead trees, thus creating habitat for other large-cavity nesters. A Pileated Woodpecker pair stays together on its territory all year round. It will defend the territory in all seasons, but will tolerate floaters during the winter.[3]

The Pileated Woodpecker also nests in nest boxes about 15 ft (4.6 m) off the ground.

Pileated Woodpeckers make such large holes in dead trees that the holes can cause a small tree to break in half. The roost of a Pileated Woodpecker usually has multiple entrance holes. Pileated Woodpeckers have been observed to move to another site any eggs that have fallen out of the nest—a rare habit in birds. The cavity is unlined except for wood chips. "Both parents incubate three to five eggs for 15 or 16 days. The young may take a month to fledge."[4]



  1. ^ BirdLife International (2006). Dryocopus pileatus. 2006. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN 2006. www.iucnredlist.org. Retrieved on 26 September 2009.
  2. ^ a b Pileated Woodpecker, Nature Works
  3. ^ Pileated Woodpecker, Canadian Biodiversity Web Site
  4. ^ Pileated Woodpecker, Talk about Wildlife

External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • pileated woodpecker — ☆ pileated woodpecker n. a large North American woodpecker (Dryocopus pileatus) with a black and white body and a red crest …   English World dictionary

  • Pileated woodpecker — Pileate Pi le*ate, Pileated Pi le*a ted, a. [L. pileatus, fr. pileus a felt cap or hat.] 1. Having the form of a cap for the head. [1913 Webster] 2. (Zo[ o]l.) Having a crest covering the pileus, or whole top of the head. [1913 Webster] {Pileated …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • pileated woodpecker — kuoduotoji meleta statusas T sritis zoologija | vardynas atitikmenys: lot. Dryocopus pileatus; Hylatomus pileatus angl. pileated woodpecker vok. Helmspecht, m rus. хохлатая желна, f pranc. grand pic, m ryšiai: platesnis terminas – meletos …   Paukščių pavadinimų žodynas

  • pileated woodpecker — [ pʌɪlɪeɪtɪd] noun a large black and white North American woodpecker with a red cap and crest. [Dryocopus pileatus.] Origin C18: pileated from L. pileatus capped , from pileus felt cap …   English new terms dictionary

  • pileated woodpecker — noun Date: 1782 a large red crested North American woodpecker (Dryocopus pileatus) that is black with white on the face, neck, and undersides of the wings …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • pileated woodpecker — a large, black and white American woodpecker, Dryocopus pileatus, having a prominent red crest. [1775 85, Amer.] * * * …   Universalium

  • pileated woodpecker — noun A large woodpecker native to North America, Dryocopus pileatus …   Wiktionary

  • pileated woodpecker — pi′leated wood′pecker n. orn a large, black and white North American woodpecker, Dryocopus pileatus, having a prominent red crest …   From formal English to slang

  • pileated woodpecker — /pɪlieɪtəd ˈwʊdpɛkə/ (say pileeaytuhd woodpekuh) noun a large black and white North American woodpecker, Ceophloeus pileatus, with prominent red crest …   Australian English dictionary

  • pileated woodpecker — noun : a No. American woodpecker (Dryocopus pileatus) that is black with a red crest and white on the wings and sides of the neck and that inhabits dense forests …   Useful english dictionary

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