Hairy Woodpecker Identification

The Four Keys to ID

  • Size & Shape

    A medium-sized woodpecker with a fairly square head, a long, straight, chisel-like bill, and stiff, long tail feathers to lean against on tree trunks. The bill is nearly the same length as the head.

    Relative Size

    About a third again larger than a Downy Woodpecker

    Relative Sizerobin sizedrobin-sized
    Measurements
    • Both Sexes
      • Length: 7.1-10.2 in (18-26 cm)
      • Weight: 1.4-3.4 oz (40-95 g)
      • Wingspan: 13.0-16.1 in (33-41 cm)

Regional Differences

Hairy Woodpeckers vary a great deal over their broad range. Northern birds tend to be larger than southern. East of the Rockies they are white below with extensively spotted wings while western birds have much less spotting in the wings and narrower facial stripes. Birds in the Pacific Northwest are brown and black (rather than white and black); they look coffee-stained. Interestingly, Downy Woodpeckers show these same regional patterns of variation.