Downy Woodpeckers are found throughout North America, although they aren’t common in warm, arid deserts. They are comfortable in a variety of rural and urban habitats and are commonly seen visiting seed and suet feeders. Both males and females have back and wing feathers that are black with white speckles, and their bellies are exclusively white. Mature males will also have a red patch on the back of their heads. The Downy Woodpecker can be confused with the Hairy Woodpecker, as they have similar color patterns, and are found in similar habitats. However, as the smallest Woodpecker in North America, the Downy is significantly smaller than the Hairy Woodpecker. It’s particularly noticeable when they are sharing a suet feeder.
The Downy Woodpecker is seen throughout the year as it is not a migrator and will often be seen in company with other woodland birds through the winter months. Generally, these cavity nesters will have one brood a year in the spring, with both parents being involved with raising the clutch. Given the option, Downy Woodpeckers prefer a diet of insects but are avid feeder visitors when insect numbers are low.