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Merlin Bird ID

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    Downy Woodpecker Identification

    The Four Keys to ID

    • Size & Shape

      Downy Woodpeckers are small versions of the classic woodpecker body plan. They have a straight, chisel-like bill, blocky head, wide shoulders, and straight-backed posture as they lean away from tree limbs and onto their tail feathers. The bill tends to look smaller for the bird’s size than in other woodpeckers.

      Relative Size

      About two-thirds the size of a Hairy Woodpecker

      Relative Sizebetween sparrow and robinbetween sparrow and robin
      • Both Sexes
        • Length: 5.5-6.7 in (14-17 cm)
        • Weight: 0.7-1.0 oz (21-28 g)
        • Wingspan: 9.8-11.8 in (25-30 cm)

    Regional Differences

    Downy Woodpeckers in the West are darker overall, and they tend to have less white in the wings than birds from eastern North America. Pacific Northwest have a dusky wash overall.