Most beautiful small birds - Sykalo Eugen 2024

Pileated Woodpecker (Dryocopus pileatus)


  • Species name: Pileated Woodpecker
  • Scientific name: Dryocopus pileatus
  • Family: Picidae (Woodpeckers)
  • Order: Piciformes (Woodpeckers)
  • Subclass: Neornithes (Modern birds)
  • Class: Aves (Birds)


  • Size: Largest woodpecker in North America (except the Ivory-billed, which is almost certainly extinct), about 40-45 cm (16-18 in) long with a wingspan of 67-77 cm (26-30 in).
  • Body shape: Large and robust, with a long, thick neck, a powerful chisel-like beak, and a stiff, pointed tail that provides support when drumming.
  • Plumage color:

Black head, neck, and breast, contrasting with their bright red crest and white wing patches.

Underparts are grayish-black, barred with white.

Long, black beak, powerful and straight.

Strong, gray legs.

Dark brown eyes.


  • Method of feeding: Primarily digs for insects and larvae in decaying trees and woodpiles, leaving large rectangular holes. Also eats fruits, nuts, and sap.
  • Reproduction: Excavates cavities in dead trees for nesting. Lays 3-5 glossy white eggs. Both parents care for the young.
  • Movement: Resident in most of its range, but some individuals may disperse locally.
  • Communication: Loud, drumming calls, often described as a rapid series of rolling beats. Also uses a variety of calls for alarm and communication.


  • Habitat: Mature deciduous and coniferous forests, often near water. Prefers stands with large, dead trees.
  • Diet: Insects, larvae, fruits, nuts, sap, and seeds.
  • Hunting methods: Uses its powerful beak to excavate decaying wood, revealing insects and larvae hidden beneath. May also glean insects from leaves and branches or chisel holes in fruits and sapwood.

Distribution: Found in Canada, the eastern United States, and parts of the Rocky Mountains.

Pileated Woodpecker

The Pileated Woodpecker, a feathered drummer echoing through North American forests, might seem like a noisy resident of tall trees at first glance. But beneath its crimson crest and powerful drumming lies a treasure trove of surprising facts and adaptations that will transform this forest carpenter into a captivating avian acrobat, hidden feast master, and unexpected social swinger in your eyes.

Masters of the Treetop Ballet: Forget clumsy hops; Pileated Woodpeckers reign supreme in the domain of towering trunks and sun-dappled branches. Their powerful legs and surprisingly broad wings propel them through the forest canopy with breathtaking agility, leaping and gliding between branches like feathered trapeze artists on miniature pogo sticks. Imagine them as arboreal parkour experts with built-in miniature hang gliders and an innate love for high-wire performances.

Hidden Feasting Technique: Don't underestimate their dietary flexibility! While carpenter ants are a staple, Pileated Woodpeckers are opportunistic omnivores, readily adapting their menu to seasonal bounty. From juicy fruits and tender roots to seeds and even the occasional small salamander, their varied appetite keeps them fueled for energetic foraging sessions. Think of them as feathered gourmands with built-in miniature buffets hidden within the treetop maze.

Drumming with Resonant Spirit: Their drumming isn't just noise. Pileated Woodpeckers possess a rich and communicative repertoire of drumming patterns, each with a specific meaning. From territorial declarations to food calls, their rhythmic pulses echo through the woods like feathered percussionists, sending messages and melodies through the vibrant green symphony.

Unexpected Social Swingers: They're not always solitary drummers. Pileated Woodpeckers have surprisingly strong social bonds, often pairing up for life and even joining loose flocks during non-breeding periods. They chase each other through the foliage in playful flurries, their crimson flashes lighting up the undergrowth, and even participate in synchronized aerial dives, painting the sky with fleeting patterns of black and white. Imagine them as feathered skydivers with built-in miniature wingsuits and coordinated tumbling routines.

Champions of Ecosystem Health: They're not just loud drummers. Pileated Woodpeckers play a vital role in the health of North American forests. Their excavation creates nesting spots and homes for other species, while their insect foraging controls pest populations, making them feathered forest doctors with built-in miniature excavators and an innate pest-control system.

Cultural Charmers: In North American cultures, the Pileated Woodpecker is associated with strength, resilience, and the vibrant spirit of the ancient forests. Its powerful drumming and commanding presence inspire awe and respect, making it a treasured symbol of the region's enduring landscapes and the boundless energy of life.

Unexpected Regional Variations: Did you know? Not all Pileated Woodpeckers are the same! Different populations across North America boast subtle variations in plumage color and drumming patterns, adding a touch of feathered diversity to this adaptable species.