photo by Phil Swanson (female bird)
L 6 3/4″ (17 cm).
Song or calls:
Listen (UNL audios)
Call is soft “pik.” Also gives a high descending whinny series “ee ee ee ee ee ee.”
Description: Contrasting black-and-white facial pattern with a black forehead, crown, and bridle across the eyes. White underparts; central part of back is white; and wings checkered black-and-white. Male is distinguish from female by red patch on nape. Told from Hairy Woodpecker by proportionately shorter bill and barred outer tail feathers.
Behavior: Has a habit of tapping on branches hardly wider than itself.
Habitat: Found in dense or open forests. Also common in urban gardens and parks. Forages in small trees, small branches of larger trees, shrubs, and tall weeds.
Where in Nebraska: Common permanent resident across the state. Regular breeder.
Fun Facts: Downy Woodpeckers do not sing like most birds but rather drum their beaks on trees or metal to achieve the same effect.