Stoney Point - Feb. 10, 2013 - We had visitors for breakfast this morning. First, we saw the Red-Bellied Woodpecker and then later we were visited by a pair of Downy Woodpeckers. Initially, we saw the female (right) and shortly thereafter the male (left) stopped by.
The Downy is the most familiar woodpecker species to people who feed birds in their backyard. Its foraging behaviour can often be observed as it is quite tolerant of human activity.
Wikipedia describes the Downy Woodpecker as the smallest of North America's woodpeckers but there are many smaller species elsewhere, especially the piculets. The Downy Woodpecker is mainly black on the upperparts and wings, with a white back, throat and belly and white spotting on the wings. There is a white bar above the eye and one below. They have a black tail with white outer feathers barred with black. Adult males have a red patch on the back of the head whereas juvenile birds display a red cap.
The Downy Woodpecker is virtually identical in plumage pattern to the much larger Hairy Woodpecker, but it can be distinguished from the Hairy by the presence of black spots on its white tail feathers and the length of its bill. The Downy Woodpecker's bill is shorter than its head, whereas the Hairy Woodpecker's bill is approximately equal to head length.
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