Pileated Woodpecker



Pileated Woodpecker on Tree

Pileated Woodpecker Dryocopus pileatus

Description:

The Pileated woodpecker is about the size of a crow.

  • Size: 16 to 19 inches (40-49 cm)
  • Wingspan: 26 to 30 inches (66-75 cm)
  • Weight: 8.9 to 12.4 ounces (250-350 g)

They are mostly black with a red crest, white markings on their head and white linings on the underside of their wings. The picture above shows a male. You can see how the red goes all the way to the base of the bill. On a female, the area between the eyes will be brownish-grey.


Diet:

pileated woodpeckers

They eat large amounts of carpenter ants as well as other insects, seeds and fruit. You can attract a Pileated woodpecker to your bird feeders using suet bird food mixes.

The picture above shows a young bird begging mom for more yummy suet.

Sex Differences:

Colors are similar between the male and the female. The male has a red crown and red forehead with red to the base of the bill. The female has a red crown, greyish-brown forehead and is black to the base of the bill.

Nesting:

These woodpeckers are cavity-nesters. The cavity is excavated in dead wood 15 to 70 feet high. The entrance hole will be about 3 1/2 inches with a cavity depth of 10 to 24 inches. Nest will contain 3 to 5 white eggs. The incubation period is 15 to 16 days.

Range:

Pileated range

A Few Things You Probably Didn't Know:

  • The feeding holes are recognizable by their unique rectangular shape, usually 3 to 6 inches. The excavated feeding holes often attract other woodpeckers for feeding.
  • Territory size is 150 to 200 acres. A pair of Pileated woodpeckers will remain in their territory all year around.
  • Very distinct "cuk-cuk-cuk" call. Loud drumming is done by unmated males to attract females and between mated pairs as part of courtship.

Learn how to attract wild birds to your wild bird feeders.

More information on other backyard birds


Please tell us about the Pileated Woodpecker visiting your feeders.

Pileated Woodpeckers are my favorite of all wild birds to visit my backyard feeders. If you're fortunate enough to see them in your yard please tell us about them.

What type of feeders do you use? What type of food did they eat? My readers would love to hear your story. It is easy to do just fill in the areas below and you can even add pictures. One you're finished you will have your very own page published with your name in the title!

What Other Visitors Have Said

Click below to see contributions from other visitors to this page...

Mr. Mom 
Brighton, NY August 2016 Piliated We have had a large male visit our suet feeders over the past 16 months or so. Often he …

My Biggest Woodpecker Surprise 
I live in Burnaby, British Columbia, a suburb of Vancouver, not rural at all, freeways and busy roads nearby, highrises mixed with houses and commercial …

Pileated Woodpecker in Cottage Grove, MN 
Went outside to put some mixed seeds and peanuts in the platform feeder for the Blue Jays and scared away by mistake a nice size Pileated Woodpecker from …

Huge Pileated W-pecker at My Tiny Suet Feeder 
I live in a top floor apartment that has many old oaks out front, and the complex verges on a wooded trail, where I'm sure Pileateds live. I've had a …

Our Female Pileated Woodpecker, Central Missouri 
We were thrilled to see a female Pileated Woodpecker land on our cake suet feeder a few months ago here in central Missouri, and since, she's become a …

Pair of Pileated Woodpeckers in Minocqua, Wisconsin 
We have a pair of Pileated Woodpeckers that come to our back yard. I have three large suet feeders that are connected together, and I made some homemade …

Pileated Woodpeckers are very rare visitor to our patio 
While I was working on the computer in the back bedroom I saw a large flash of red & black fly by the window. I knew it wasn't a cardinal. I carefully …

My pileated woodPecker 
I live in Maine I saw a woodpecker two weeks ago standing on top of my bird feeders so I went a bought some woodpecker suet that day he comes several times …

Pilly on home-made tree 
Living amongst the woods in an area considered to be an Auduman Bird Sanctuary blesses us with a multitude of birds that feed in our front yard in Cumberland …

Pileated Woodpecker Food 
I ran out of suet and put a Peanut butter sandwich in the suet feeder and 5 Pileated woodpeckers started fighting over it. I think the peanut butter is …

Pileated woodpeckers in Branford, CT 
Last year we had a pair of Pileated Woodpeckers come and make their home in a dead tree in our back yard. We were so excited to see them for its pretty …

Making a home 
There is a woodpecker making a home in one of my backyard trees. It has a red colored fur on it's head running down to the beak. It has taken him/her …

One brazen bird 
I was wondering why my suet was disappearing so quickly- my husband and I live on a small acreage outside of Red Deer, Alberta, Canada. I prefer to make …

makanda, illinois 
We have two pileated woodpeckers frequenting our yard. I wasn't sure of their sex until i looked it up today on the internet. hopefully i will see them …

I live in rural Morgantown, Indiana just a few miles south of Indianapolis! 
When suddenly today (December 26, 2010) one Pileated (male) visited my small suet feeder. During the summer I see them from time-to-time but never at …

Breeding pair 
For a couple of years I have enjoyed watching a pair of Pileated wood peckers in my back yard, I live on the edge of Brown co. state park in Bloomington, …

Woody 
Woody is apparently a Georgia Dawgs Fan! My family had the TV set outside for the GA-FLA game and Woody came to the tree in back of us to watch. I had …

He returned 
While just discovering the pileated woodpecker earlier today, I was hoping that there would be a return visit. I wasn't disappointed and this time I had …

Beautiful Pileated Woodpecker 
Yesterday I saw this female Pileated Woodpecker while visiting our friends near Mt. Rainier, WA. They said they have a couple of them daily at their suet …

Woodpeckers Eat All Wasps and Hornets 
More than once woodpeckers have exterminated large hornets and paper wasp nests. One day the nests are there, the next day all we find is shredded paper …

Climbing the tree 
I have seened and photographed a Pileated Woodpecker in my backyard. I live on a shared acerage and was surprised to see this beautiful bird. We have …

A big surprise 
We live in Winnipeg,Manitoba just at the edge of the south end of the city. We have 6 feeders in our backyard, two of which are for the larger birds containing …

Indiana Pileated woodpeckers 
We live right on the edge of Geist Lake in north central Indianapolis. A week or so ago, I was upstairs when I saw something rather large land on …

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Pileated Woodpecker Video 
Taken February 10th in my backyard. Comment Thank you Fred! Susan

Northern NH 
I had a feeder out most of the winter with suet and I had two sizes of woodpeckers attacking it. After seeing the picture I believe the larger one was …

Watching for Woody  
I have a pair of beautiful woodpeckers here in Paulding County Georgia that fly between my two acres and 300 acres across the street from me.Early one …

Back yard feeder 
I had not seen the pileated for 2 years. Then, one appeared on my old crab apple tree and then visited a large columnar feeder, filled with black sunflower …

male and female 
MALE AND FEMALE AT MY 4 CAKE SUET FEEDER IN PORT MCNICOLL ONT

My mornings are the best ever!!!!!!!!!!!  
I live in Davisboro ,Ga I moved here 5 months ago from NJ. I have a large yard acres I have a family of 5 Pileated woodpeckers everyday sometimes together …

PILEATED WOODPECKER 
PILEATED WOODPECKERS LIKE TO EAT SUNFLOWER SEEDS, BUG SUET AND YOU WILL NEED A SUET FEEDER. THE SUET FEEDER CAN BE A DOUBLE SUET FEEDER, SUET CAGE, OR …

Pleated woodpecker in tree outside of house 
Our duplex is on a wooded lot in the town of Mount Horeb, Wi in Dane County. On 03 Feb 2013 , we saw a woodpecker working on a half dead box elder tree. …

First Time Pileated Wood Pecker - Bear Suet 
My son drew a bear harvest tag last fall after waiting 8 years... With his harvest we found we had over a hundred pounds of fat which we put up in gallon …

mentor ohio. i have only seen 1 briefly! 
I feed my birds combination of suet and seed. Living next to a nature preserve aids in my endeavor to draw them to my yard. I get downys, red bellied and …

A pileated Woodpecker I've never seen before 
When deer hunting today in my woods in Columbia County, WI, I saw a woodpecker I had never seen before. It was very large...larger than crow, and was …

Pileated Woodpecker 
Today after placing a peanut/suet hanger on my bird table I saw an amazing bird. By description I looked it up on google and found that I had ,had a Pileated …

pileated woodpecker 
i live in port saint lucie,fl.and saw a pileated wood pecker in my yard today 6/8/12.it came to the ficus tree and the jacaranda tree.i have a suet and …

Pleated woodpeckers apparently have found a home 
I have a old cedar split rail fence in my front yard that has been infested with carpenter bees. I have a big walnut tree in the back yard and from time …

Woodpeckers 
This is the second year they have visited us and I am really amazed at the way they act.Each year I heard the pecking noise and saw the holes getting bigger. …

Pair doing a mating dance... 
I saw these two when I was on my way out the door to go to work one morning. I was amazed as this was my first sighting of one. I hurried and got my …

They love gutter sounds 
For years my husband and I have heard rattling sounds on our aluminum gutters. We always joked it was a woodpecker but dismissed it as wind (even on days …

retired bird watcher 
I get up early every morning to work out before work and my hubby gets up, makes coffee and looks out the window to spot palliateed woodpecker. I do have …

Pileated Woodpecker? 
At Fort Harrison State Park I saw what I think were 6 Pileated Woodpeckers and was able to watch them for 25-30 minutes. I was sitting in a parked truck …

Parent Pileated Woodpecker 
I live in Pa. in the suburbs of Philadelphia. Today I saw for the first time a Pileated Woodpecker. To hear it's call was exciting. It flew to another …

Pileated Woodpecker and Bald Eagle all in one year!!! 
I can't get over this. We built a home on a little over 1 acre of land in Flint Texas. In May of 2011 I walk out of my laundry room door to see an American …

First sighting! 
We have an open "umbrella" decorative feeder hanging 1 ft. outside of our 1 yr. old's bedroom window. I use Wild Bird's Unlimited premium birdseed mix. …

House Wrecker in SW Michigan 
This is the second year in a row that a male pileated woodpecker is attacking our home! It uses its powerful bill to excavate the wood trim along our …

Shy Giants-would love pointers to calm them to my presence 
We live on top of the MN river valley in a rural area. We seem to have had a pair for the last several years, but never seem to get them both to come to …

Pair in Endicott, NY 
I live in a village where the houses are close together and just this morning, I saw my first pair of pileated woodpeckers on the telephone pole in front …

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Pileated Woodpeckers eat deer! 
Every fall after deer hunting, we hang a rib cage in a tree for the birds. For the past two weeks a pair of Pileated woodpeckers have been very frequent …

Nesting pair of Pileated Woodys...  
We just purchased a 10 acre property with ALOT of dead pine trees. We had decided to cut down the trees and burn them. Fortunately, it was too COLD down …

Grapes! 
We live on 36 acres in Osceola, WI--just 20 miles from the Minnesota border. We have a large pileated woodpecker that has been visiting our grape covered …

WHAT IS IT! 
I happened to be looking out my kitchen window at the feeders in the backyard and saw this huge bird eating beside a sparrow. I had no idea what it …

4 Pileated Woodpeckers 
Today I watched 4 pileated wood peckers visit my hanging suet feeder. It holds 2 cakes and is made of recycled plastic designed for them. two of them hung …

Pileated Woodpecker and Shemp of the 3 stooges 
I have at least 4 pileated woodpeckers that come several times to my suet feeder each day. I mean you can hear them coming a mile off they sound like …

Sighting in Holts Summit MO 
They are daily visiting my neighbors hummingbird feeder (you got it). It grabs on, wraps it's tail around the bottom, and drinks the nectar from the hummingbird …

Monster 
This is an awesome bird to watch. It had come to my feeder sparingly for the last three years but has came everyday for the past three weeks. It looks …

coolest bird I have ever seen! 
yesterday I was in the kitchen and I happened to is something moving on the tree outside the kitchen window I looked out the window and I took a video …

Woodpeckers and Mating Season 
I have a pileated woodpecker attracted to my kitchen window. He occasionally does drum on it but mostly just looks at his reflection and I'm guessing it's …

A Great Video on Pileated Woodpeckers 
A National Geographic video on Pileated Woodpeckers

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