Pileated Woodpecker

pileated woodpecker The Pileated Woodpecker is the largest North American woodpecker. Although the Ivory-billed Woodpecker is actually larger, its sightings (Ivory-billed) are such that it is considered near or at extinction.


Measuring 16-19 inches long with a red crest and black bill. You'll find these birds in mature forest with large trees.

The male Pileated has a red patch at the base of the bill whereas the female has a black patch at the base of the bill.

The territory of these birds can be 150-200 acres. Signs of their presence can be detected by lookin for 3-6 inch holes in trees.

Using suet feeders can bring them close up for a good look.

Since these birds eat carpenter ants and the ants tunnel deep into the wood, the birds will excavate a long gash in a tree to retrieve ants.

Mating Habits

These birds have been observed performing a courtship dance. This dance consist of one bird bowing, scraping, and stepping sideways in a circle around another bird.

Pair bonds tend to be for life and pairs stay together all year long. During Fall and Winter the pairs roost at different locations during the night. Males sometimes use the previous nest site as their night time roost.

Submitted by John From Virginia

Nesting Habits

They prefer dense, mature forest for nesting. The nest cavity is excavated in dead wood 15-70 feet above ground. The entrance hole is about 3 1/2 inches in diameter. The depth of the cavity is between 10-24 inches deep.

The female will lay 3-5 white eggs which will be incubated for 15-16 days by both the male and female birds. Both male and female will also feed the nestlings. After 24 - 28 days the young will leave the nest.

The adults and young will stay together until fall. During this time the adult birds will continue to feed them and teach them how to find their own food. Around September, the family will break up and the young will find territories of their own.

Common predators include: Black snakes, Coopers Hawk, Northern Goshawk, Red-tailed Hawk, Great Horned Owl, Squirrels.

While not a rare bird, they can be quite shy and wary. Listen for a low-pitched drumming that trails off in speed and volume at the end. Listen to call and druming

Follow the sound, and you just may find one.

Pileated Woodpecker Videos

Video Submitted by Lamar
This video was taken in my back yard in a sycamore tree. I spent about 3 hrs. in the tree to get this video of A Pileated Woodpecker feeding it's Baby's. I hope everyone enjoys this video as much as I have. THANK YOU: Lamar

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Kevin from Florida shares this video with us. Filmed in Sumter County Florida using Sony HDR-SR11 camera.

Pileated Woodpecker in HD Thanks Kevin

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