Hairy Woodpecker
Picoides villosus
Nov. 11, 2012


The two most common woodpeckers in central Pennsylvania (or around State College) are the downy woodpecker and the hairy woodpecker. The downy and the hairy are very similar in terms of coloration, but the hairy is half again as large. Consequently, from a long ways away, it can be difficult to tell a hairy from a downy except that a hairy has a much more robust bill.

The difference between a male and female hairy woodpecker is that the male has a patch of red on back of his head.

Male hairy woodpecker

And so next we have a female, without any red marking whatsoever.
Female hairy woodpecker

A juvenile male hairy has his red patch on the forehead.
Immature hairy woodpecker

Hairy woodpeckers are nowhere as common as downy woodpeckers, so it was quite a treat to come across two male hairies demonstrating to each other. (I've no idea what it was about, but it seemed a friendly competition.)
Two male hairy woodpeckers in a display contest

For anyone who has noticed, I had first put up a page on hairy woodpeckers seven years ago, and so I thought it was time to update this page with better photos.

Photo note: I used various Pentax cameras and various lenses (over the years) for these four photos.

A size comparison between downy, hairy, and pileated woodpeckers   |   My Pennsylvania bird list

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