Deep Dive: Pileated Woodpecker

by OBDK on January 30, 2023

Pileated Woodpeckers are the largest woodpecker species in the United States.1 They stand 15-19 inches tall, which is about the size of a crow, and have a wingspan that can reach up to 30 inches.2
They look very similar to the Ivory-billed Woodpecker, but their markings are different. They have a red crest on their heads and a white stripe on the sides of their faces. The wings are black on the outside, but the inside has a white patch on either side.2
These woodpeckers thrive in very mature forests and they tend to build their nest cavities in dead trees. These birds are important members of their ecosystems because they provide pest control by eating insects, and they provide homes for other animals when they abandon their nests.3 Not only that, but when they peck into trees to find insects to eat, they end up depositing parts of the tree onto the ground, which helps it decompose and become nutrients for the forest floor.1
Pileated Woodpeckers are birds that will only pair up with one other bird. When they reproduce, females tend to lay four eggs and both females and males incubate the eggs. After a month, the offspring will fledge.1 These birds don’t migrate. They’ll stay in the same areas year-round.2
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