Dryocopus pileatus
(Pileated Woodpecker)

Order: Piciformes
Order Description: Woodpeckers
Family: Picidae
Family Description: Woodpeckers

Physical Description:
Size: 16-19.5" (41-50cm). A large white and black woodpecker with a distinctive red crest. Black and white striped face. Males have a red mustache. Long white throat stripe. White flanksClick word for definition and underwing linings can be seen in flight.

Similar Species- There are no similar looking species in Idaho. Northern flickers can sound like Pileated Woodpeckers. However, the call of the Flicker is higher pitched, generally faster, and does not descend.

A slow, loud Kee-kee-kee-kee-kee-kee! Often descending in pitch toward the end.

Resident across portions of Canada, south to central California, Idaho, western Montana, eastern Dakotas, Gulf Coast, and southern Florida.

Found in dense coniferousClick word for definition and mixed forests, open woodlands, second growth, and, locally, parks and wooded residential areas of towns. Preliminary results of Montana-Idaho study of old-growth and rotation-aged Douglas-fir found Pileated Woodpeckers are old-growth associates.

Eats mainly ants and beetles, but will also eat other insects, fruits, and seeds.

Nests in cavity in standing snag, frequently in area free of bark. Oregon study found territory size to be 267-1056 ha; size was negatively correlated with percent forest overstory canopy cover, percent saw timber cover, and log and stump volume. Logs and stumps are important foraging substrates, but species will also dig into anthills.

Both sexes incubateClick word for definition usually 3-4 eggs for 18 days. Young are tended by both parents, and leave nest in 22-26 days. Family group stays together until fall or later.

Element Code: ABNYF12020
Status: Protected nongame species
Global Rank: G5
State Rank: S4
National Rank: N5

Important State References:
Hejl, S.J. and R.E. Woods. 1990. Bird assemblages in old-growth and rotation-aged Douglas-fir/Ponderosa pine stands in the northern Rocky Mountains: a preliminary assessment. Pp. 93-100 in D.M. Baumgartner and J.E. Lotan, eds. Proceedings of a Symposium on Interior Douglas-fir: the species and its management. Feb 27, 1990, Spokane, WA.

Photos by C. S. Robbins, ©2002
Design by Ean Harker©1999, 2000.
Written by Jason Karl, 2000.