A small black and white woodpecker approximately 2/3 the size of a robin. A white stripe extends down the length of the back and each wing is predominately black with rows of white spots. The bill is short for a woodpecker; its length is approximately ½ to ¾ the length of the head. The throat, breast and belly are white. Males and females are different in that the males have a small red patch of feathers on the back of the head. Downy woodpeckers are similar in appearance to the hairy woodpecker. The bill length is the easiest way to tell these species apart. When comparing the length of the bill against the length of the head, the downy woodpecker’s bill will always be shorter than the length of its head, while the hairy woodpecker’s bill will be equal to or longer than the length of its head.
5.5-7 inches in length. 10-12 inch wingspan.
Downy woodpeckers are found in most forest and woodland types, as well as shrublands and young forests. Occurs commonly in urban and residential areas. They are a common species that occurs statewide in forest or woodland habitats. This species does not migrate; its wintering and breeding ranges are the same.
Downy woodpeckers are usually seen foraging alone or in pairs. They will forage in most types of trees, but less likely to use cedar and mesquite. Birds will search for insects all over both mature and sapling trees and along very small branches.