Pileated Woodpecker

(Dryocopus pileatus)

               
Conservation Status

IUCN Red List

LC - Least Concern

Pileated Woodpecker

NatureServe

N5 - Secure

SNR - Unranked

Minnesota

not listed

Occurrence

Uncommon year-round resident

Habitat

Extensive, mature deciduous, mixed, or coniferous forest, riparian woodlands, suburban woodlots.

Size

16 to 19 in length

29 wingspan

 

 

      Photo by Bill Reynolds
 
Identification

This is the largest woodpecker in Minnesota, and the largest in the United States with the exception of the possibly extinct Ivory-billed Woodpecker. Adults are slightly smaller than an American Crow, 16 to 19 in length with a 26 to 30 wingspan. They weigh 8.8 to 14 ounces. They survive about 13 years in the wild.

The body, tail, and wings are mostly dull black.

The bases of the primary and secondary wing feathers are white, forming a small white crescent in the upper wing surface that is only visible when the bird is in flight. A small white patch of these feathers may be visible when the bird is perched. The underside of the wing is mostly white but the trailing edge is black.

The head is black and white with a prominent crest. The male has a red crest, red crown, and red forehead—the red extends from the bill to the nape of the neck. The female has a red crest only—the red extends from the nape of the neck to the rear part of the crown. The male also has a narrow, red stripe running from the bill to the throat. The chin is white, the bill is dark, and the eyes are yellow. There is a white line that extends from the bill, beneath the eye, down the neck, and onto the side of the body.

 
Voice

 

 
Sign

This bird excavates large, rectangular holes in in trees. Scattered, large wood chips are often found at the base of a tree with a recently excavated hole.

 
Similar
Species

No similar species in Minnesota.

 
Food

Carpenter ants, wood-boring beetle larvae, berries, and nuts.

 
Nesting

In early spring the male excavates a large nest hole in a dead tree. If he attracts a female, the two of them will finish excavating the nest cavity. The entrance hole to the finished nest cavity is rectangular.

The female lays usually four white eggs, sometimes as few as one or as many as six. The eggs hatch 15 to 18 days later. The young stay in the nest 24 to 28 days.

There is only one brood per year. A new nest is excavated each year.

 
Migration

 

 
Comments

Taxonomy
Some authorities separate New World Pileated Woodpeckers into their own genus Hylatomus, Old World Pileated Woodpeckers remaining in the genus Dryocopus. This is not universally accepted.

Subspecies
Some authorities recognize four subspecies, some only two. Under either classification, Northern Pileated Woodpecker (Dryocopus pileatus abieticola) is the only subspecies who’s range extends into Minnesota.

 
Taxonomy

Order:

Piciformes (woodpeckers and relatives)

 

Family:

Picidae (woodpeckers)

 
Subordinate Taxa

Northern Pileated Woodpecker (Dryocopus pileatus abieticola)

Southern Pileated Woodpecker (Dryocopus pileatus pileatus)

Florida Pileated Woodpecker (Dryocopus pileatus floridanus) (not universally recognized)

Western Pileated Woodpecker (Dryocopus pileatus picinus) (not universally recognized)

 
Synonyms

Hylatomus pileatus

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

       
Visitor Photos
   
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Lori Staley
       

It sat feeding for approximately 10 minutes before flying off. We have a heavy wooded area on our farm.

  Pileated Woodpecker    
       
Ramona Abrego
       
  Pileated Woodpecker   Pileated Woodpecker
       
  Pileated Woodpecker   Pileated Woodpecker
       
  Pileated Woodpecker    
       
Nikki
       

1 pair

  Pileated Woodpecker   Pileated Woodpecker
       
  Pileated Woodpecker    
       
Norm & Peg Dibble
       

On October 23, 2018, 1:26 PM, I was shocked to see this wonderful woodpecker snacking on the premium seed mix from our new feeder. I could only quickly use my phone shooting through the glass and screen door, so sadly it's not sharp. A very rare sighting in our neighborhood.

  Pileated Woodpecker    
       
Margot Avey
       
  Pileated Woodpecker    
       
Lisa M.
       

There were two!

  Pileated Woodpecker    
       
Jessica Little
       
  Pileated Woodpecker    
       
Bill Reynolds
       

Here, a female Pileated Woodpecker is working on getting blackoiled Sunflower seeds. This is the second time there's been a Pileated at one of my feeders. The first time was earlier this year.

  Pileated Woodpecker   Pileated Woodpecker
       
  Pileated Woodpecker    
       
Marsha Cary
       

Today I got a photo

  Pileated Woodpecker   Pileated Woodpecker
       
Kim Eastwood
       

We had 4 possibly 5 in our front yard late afternoon early evening..... Couldn't get them all in the same picture

  Pileated Woodpecker    
       
Mike Berg
       

taken May 19th, 2017

  Pileated Woodpecker    
       
Kakhi
       
  Pileated Woodpecker    
       
Rick and Beth Haueter
       
  Pileated Woodpecker    
       
Trisha
       
  Pileated Woodpecker   Pileated Woodpecker
       
  Pileated Woodpecker   Pileated Woodpecker
       
  Pileated Woodpecker   Pileated Woodpecker
       
  Pileated Woodpecker   Pileated Woodpecker
       
  Pileated Woodpecker   Pileated Woodpecker
       

It was at the feeders 3 times today. But spooked very easily.

  Pileated Woodpecker    
       
tlbroll
       

Exploring our telephone pole

  Pileated Woodpecker    
       
Sarah
       

Wow, this bird makes a racket!

  Pileated Woodpecker    
       
Janet M. Frank
       

In our back yard.

  Pileated Woodpecker    
       
djhenry86
       
  Pileated Woodpecker    
       
Becky
       

Suet was nearby, but this guy thought that he might find some insects in the roof of my birdfeeder. What a racket he was making!

  Pileated Woodpecker    
       
Cathy
       
  Pileated Woodpecker    
       
Peggy
       

Gorgeous bird!

  Pileated Woodpecker   Pileated Woodpecker
       
JR
       

I just moved to MN from SoCal. This was one of the coolest things I've seen. Beautiful with his red crown and right in my yard!

  Pileated Woodpecker    
       
Lynn Connors
       

I took this picture today at our suet feeder. We live three miles east of Waseca in a woods. First time we have seen one here in the 20 years we have lived here.

  Pileated Woodpecker    
       
Tom Baker
       
  Pileated Woodpecker    
       
MinnesotaSeasons.com Photos
   
Pileated Woodpecker Sign
       

Rectangular Excavation

  Pileated Woodpecker   Pileated Woodpecker
       
  Pileated Woodpecker   Pileated Woodpecker
       

Wood Chips at the Base of a Tree

  Pileated Woodpecker   Pileated Woodpecker
       

 

Camera

 

     
Slideshows
   
  Pileated Woodpecker
Allen Chartier
 
  Pileated Woodpecker  
     
  Pileated Woodpecker
Andy Reago & Chrissy McClarren
 
  Pileated Woodpecker  
     
  Pileated Woodpecker
JMC Nature Photos
 
  Pileated Woodpecker  

 

slideshow

       
Visitor Videos
   
Share your video of this bird.
 

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Lori Staley
       
  Pileated Woodpecker 01
Oct 11, 2020
 
   
 
About

Pileated Woodpecker (Dryocopus pileatus)
10/10/2020
rural Austin, MN at my feeder
It sat feeding for approximately 10 minutes before flying off. We have a heavy wooded area on our farm.
Video by Lori Staley
http://www.minnesotaseasons.com/Birds/Pileated_Woodpecker.html

   
       
Olena Kovalchuk
       
  Pileated Woodpecker 15
Published on Aug 27, 2016
 
   
 
About

Pileated Woodpecker (Dryocopus pileatus) - Video by Olena Kovalchuk - http://minnesotaseasons.com/Birds/Pileated_Woodpecker.html

   
       
Other Videos
 
  Pileated Woodpecker Nest
WIld Bird Video Productions
 
   
 
About

Published on Jun 12, 2012

I was recording a Raven family in a northern Connecticut forest when I heard these Pileated Woodpeckers calling near by. Looks like they are just about ready to fly. ©2012 www.JimZipp.com

   
       
  Pileated Woodpecker (Picidae: Dryocopus pileatus) Feeding
Carl Barrentine
 
   
 
About

Uploaded on Oct 2, 2010

Photographed at Grand Forks, North Dakota (01 October 2010).

   
       
  Pileated Woodpecker (Picidae: Dryocopus pileatus) Close-up
Carl Barrentine
 
   
 
About

Uploaded on Oct 2, 2010

Photographed at Grand Forks, North Dakota (01 October 2010).

   
       
  Pileated woodpecker, Dryocopus pileatus
leMeow1
 
   
 
About

Published on Sep 5, 2013

I don't know why he was so upset, maybe he was looking for his mate, or maybe saw a cat. This went on for at least 15 minutes.

   
       
  Pileated Woodpecker (Dryocopus pileatus)
johnfredeen
 
   
 
About

Published on Sep 10, 2013

Having grown up in rural Alberta, I have an inordinate fondness for the aspen woodlands. One of my favourite woodpeckers is the pileated woodpecker and given the opportunity i love to capture them on film. Some years I am lucky enough to stumble onto a nesting hole.

   
       

 

Camcorder

         
Visitor Sightings
   
Report a sighting of this bird.
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Simply email us at info@MinnesotaSeasons.com.
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Lori Staley
10/7/2020

Location: rural Austin, MN at my feeder

It sat feeding for approximately 10 minutes before flying off. We have a heavy wooded area on our farm.

Pileated Woodpecker


Cami K
10/9/2020

Location: Old Cottage Grove

Just saw the biggest woodpecker and after reading your page I believe it to be the Pileated Woodpecker. It was in my neighbors yard in Old Cottage Grove pecking at a dead cedar tree. I wish I took out the camera, but I was just in aw so much I forgot. Really cool to see. When i asked my neighbors about it, they said "we see him every once in a blue moon" he or a family of them must live in the area that they see him at least once a year.

Just a wonderful way to start the friday.


Kelly W
9/17/2020

Location: Hugo, Mn


Rita D
9/15/2020

Location: Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden Minneapolis, MN


Jim
2/16/2020

Location: Wyoming , MN

Two flying from tree to tree


Bob
1/16/2020

Location: back yard 25 feet high in Maple tree at 1704 Pulaski Rd.  Buffalo, MN (east of Lake Pulaski).

It is pounding on the backside of a large dead branch in a Maple tree that has a few other dead branches also.  I’m thinking it is  female and it has been there for 20 minutes or more.


Nikki
12/22/2019

Location: Jordan, MN

1 pair

Pileated Woodpecker


Katharine Poylio
12/11/2019

Location: Rural Farmington

Have two pairs (two males and two females) who visit our bird feeders daily.


Ian Hagen Fyfield
11/9/2019

Location: ford parkway street in st paul, MN

was on a telephone pole


Wooly
11/3/2019

Location: Esko MN

On our backyard deck.


Peg Dibble
10/23/2018

Location: Maple Grove, MN

On October 23, 2018, 1:26 PM, I was shocked to see this wonderful woodpecker snacking on the premium seed mix from our new feeder. I could only quickly use my phone shooting through the glass and screen door, so sadly it's not sharp. A very rare sighting in our neighborhood.

Pileated Woodpecker


Kim
5/9/2019

Location: Savage, MN

Two of them playing together in my backyard


Margot Avey
4/26/2019

Location: Westwood Hills Nature Center

Pileated Woodpecker


Dorothy
2/16/2019

Location: Canosia Township

my yard near pike lake


Ramona Abrego
12/14/2018

Location: Becker County

Pileated Woodpecker


Dawn
1/18/2019

Location: St. Francis

2 in our yard


Yellowdog
10/18/2018

Location: Wayzata


Ramona Abrego
10/14/2018

Location: Becker County

Pileated Woodpecker


Sue T
10/14/2018

Location: Minneapolis- kenwood


Ramona Abrego
10/11/2018

Location: Becker County

Pileated Woodpecker


Jenn 27
9/18/2018

Location: Saint Paul in Como neighborhood


Marsha Cary
8/29/2018

Location: North Minneapolis, Minnesota

Pileated Woodpecker


Steve Graybill
8/21/2018

Location: Lake Le Homme Dieu, Alexandria, MN


Diane
July 2018

Location: Hutchinson

saw 2 in our yard


Chris Boyd
7/4/2018

Location: Burnsville

Mother and two fledglings. Mother was feeding the young ones as well as showing them how to feed. Young birds also following the example and pecking on their own.


Brian Drew
5/26/2018

Location: Edina

video on YouTube if search "pileated woodpecker and Edina"


Stephanie
5/28/2018

Location: Emily, Mn

we are visited every few days by this beautiful Woodpecker! He loves the suet feeder. Eats for about 10 minutes, then he's off! 


Sue
5/9/2018

Location: Minnetonka, MN at 7:30 pm

pecking a nest in a dead tree stump.  Been pecking for the past 15 minutes.


Sue Olson
3/8/2018

Location: East Union,MN

Male pleated woodpecker... hanging on my 6 inch suet feeder, coming by daily


dave
1/28/2018

Location: Andover

Pulling peanuts from a wire ring, about 10 days. 10 days of continuous sightings, comes to the ring multiple times, opens the peanut and hides one half in the tree and flies off with the other half.


Bill Reynolds
1/12/2018

Location: Pennington Co. MN

Here, a female Pileated Woodpecker is working on getting blackoiled Sunflower seeds.  This is the second time there's been a Pileated at one of my feeders.  The first time was earlier this year.

I know there are plenty images of this bird, but Pennington Co needs to represent!

Pileated Woodpecker


Michael
1/3/2018

Location: Lake Elmo, MN

We are located near Lake Jane in Lake Elmo. He/She ate from our suet cake feeder.


Trunq22
11/17/2017

Location: Duluth, MN

behind Lake Superior College


Leanne Johnson
12/0/2017

Location: Red Lake Minnesota


R Miller
12/6/2017

Location: Stillwater, MN


Marsha Cary
11/8/2017

Location: Oak Grove Minnesota

Today I got a photo

Pileated Woodpecker


Marsha Cary
11/7/2017

Location: Oak Grove

Large Colorful at least 12” feeding on Suet in backyard feeder. Frequently returns to the old dead oak tree, then back to feeders


Lisa M.
10/20/2017

Location: Eden Prairie

There were two!

Pileated Woodpecker


Michael
10/8/2017

Location: Maple Grove, MN, west side not far from Corcoran. Very residential neighborhood.

We have them at our backyard feeder – not sure if male or female, but they love the suet cakes!


Kim Eastwood
8/2/2017

Location: Bemidji, Minnesota

We had 4 possibly 5 in our front yard late afternoon early evening..... Couldn't get them all in the same picture

Pileated Woodpecker


Roger Hauch
6/22/2017

We have one living in our neighborhood! He likes to bang on my bedroom window sill in the morning! Ugh! I am within three feet of him. I will try to get a picture but I am usually sleeping.


Cathy
5/21/2017

Location: Bloomington

pecking on tree stump in our front yard


Mike Berg
5/19/2017

Location: Wright County, Delano

taken May 19th, 2017

Pileated Woodpecker


Shelly
4/8/2017

Location: Shakopee

I got a pic of this beautiful bird hanging on the suet feeder, getting some lunch.


Carl & Nancy
12/29/2016

Location: Bloomington

attacking a dead box elder tree


TKuehne
2/11/2017

Location: Brittany Park (west side), Champlin, MN

We saw this beautiful bird out our window checking out a dying tree in our backyard. He was very large and the head had more red in it than in the pictures I've seen.  This park is also home to an Eagle and Great Horned Owl. 


Kakhi
1/1/2017

Location: Lake Waverly

Pileated Woodpecker


Kakhi
12/25/2016

Location: lake Waverly

Made a large cavity in a tree by a stream with all the wood chips at the base of the tree.


Rick and Beth Haueter
12/20/2016

Location: Eden Prairie,Mn

Pileated Woodpecker


Trisha
11/30/2016

Location: Richmond, MN

It was at the feeders 3 times today. But spooked very easily.

Pileated Woodpecker


tlbroll
11/25/2016

Location: St. Paul (near Lake Como; Ivy and Victoria)

Exploring our telephone pole

Pileated Woodpecker


Stephanie
11/21/2016

Location: South Minneapolis -- 44th Ave S and 52nd St

eating from a suet bird feeder on my front lawn


Jeremy
10/22/2016

Location: West side of Lake of the Isles Minneapolis

Hammering loudly on our boulevard tree for about 10 minutes. Large and beautiful bird.


Miriam
10/20/2016

Location: west side of Lake of the Isles, Minneapolis

Time was about 9:30 a.m. I spotted a pair of birds, one chasing the other. One was large, the other much smaller.

The smaller bird was chasing the larger. Then I saw that the large bird was a pileated woodpecker. It moved from tree to tree in a small area. I didn't have binoculars with me, but I didn't need them!  I must have stood for five minutes observing it.

The other bird was a downy woodpecker. There was a lot of bird activity around the lake at this time. Great blue heron.

An immature eagle. Many downy woodpeckers.  The pileated was a sight to behold.


Mary Watnemo
10/13/2016

Location: Hutchinson ,MN

Came to suet in back yard.


Sarah
10/12/2016

Location: Mendota Heights, MN

Wow, this bird makes a racket!

Pileated Woodpecker


Mary
10/10/2016

Location: Mazeppa, MN

My first sighting of a Pileated Woodpecker. Visited my suet feeders in front of our house. We live in a wooded valley region. Hope to see her again!


Janet M. Frank
9/9/2016

Location: Cedar, MN

In our back yard.

Pileated Woodpecker


Dawn
9/20/2016

Location: Akeley -11th Crow Wing

We have a pair that live close by but are too quick for me to snap a picture of.


Olena Kovalchuk
8/22/2016

Location: Minneapolis

Pileated Woodpecker


Terry Jandt
8/3/2016

Location: New Prague


Jessica Woken
7/15/2016

Location: Cannon Falls, MN

This is my first sighting of a pileated woodpecker on our property and, now that I know its here, I'll keep my eye out for him (or her) again. Video link: https://www.dropbox.com/s/svmmctxnh875eqf/Giant%20woodpecker.mp4?dl=0


Tim Morrison
6/14/2016

Location: La Crescent, Mn.

landed on Tv Antenna tower but flew away right away


djhenry86
5/7/2016

Location: Near the corner of Maplewood/Beaver Lake

Pileated Woodpecker


Becky
4/15/2016

Location: Savage

Suet was nearby, but this guy thought that he might find some insects in the roof of my birdfeeder. What a racket he was making!

Pileated Woodpecker


Cathy
3/31/2016

Location: Buffalo, MN

Pileated Woodpecker


DarrylD
3/26/2016

Location: Mound MN

Very cool! See it every spring.


mgschatz
3/17/2016

Location: Eagan


Jeri Ann
3/2/2016

Location: Lake George

Coming to my feeders with sunflower seeds and peanuts.


Verna
1/30/2016

Location: Plymouth

My first time seeing this bird - what a thrill!


Peggy
1/1/2016

Location: Owatonna

gorgeous bird!

Pileated Woodpecker


Jim
11/29/2015

Location: Edina MN


Koch’s
11/26/2015

Location: Jackson MN


Arne Bokkers
11/4/2015

Location: Fergus Falls

On our deck looking for the bird feeders


JR
9/23/2015

Location: Mahtomedi

I just moved to MN from SoCal. This was one of the coolest things I've seen. Beautiful with his red crown a D right in my yard!

Pileated Woodpecker


Susan
9/4/2015

Location: Pelican Lake MN

Saw it going up the oak tree right outside our living room.


Jill
7/16/2015

Location: Little Falls,MN

We have two of them that I see almost daily come to both the suet feeder and on our trees. They are beautiful!


Mossy
5/3/2015

Location: Mankato, Mn

Just a glimpse of a female flying by in Rasmussen Woods at 7:45 am. Wow ! I've been wanting to see one for some time !


Scott
4/4/2015

Location: Plymouth, southwest corner Medicine Lake

Watched a pair Mate this morning. Guessing thats a once in a lifetime. They maybe setting up shop, nesting, in a big oak right off my deck.


Tom Brinda
2/22/2015

Location: Green Heron Pond, University Of Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, Chaska, MN 55318

​A major accomplishment on my life list:  ​
A single bird was sighted in the top of sugar maples in mature forest, on the edge of Green Heron Pond. When startled, the bird moved to the back side of the trees, and stayed aloof, though verbal throughout the sighting. Two types of calls were heard, one being the more familiar ​but very loud, ​sharp​,​ cherp-peep of wood peckers, and the other was the inspiration for Woody Woodpecker of television fame.  The Arboretum is 1100 acres of forest, wetland and cultivated gardens, located in Chaska, MN.  Feeders at the Oswald visitor center and native plant restorations provide​ generous amounts of ​varied ​habitat for birds like these.

​Temperatures at time of sighting were minus 15F wind-chill, 6 F, blue sky, sunshine, wind from the NW at 15 mph.​


Jackie
1/12/2015

Location: South Saint Paul near highway 52.

The woodpecker was seen on a maple tree in the neighbors back yard.  It was pecking at the tree for about a half hour and left.  We found out what kind of woodpecker it was by doing a google search for woodpeckers in Minnesota and recognized a picture of it.  We were surprised at how big it was.  We didn’t know there was a woodpecker that big. 


Lynn Connors
1/1/2015

Location: 16192 Old Highway 14m Waseca, MN

I took this picture today at our suet feeder.  We live three miles east of Waseca in a woods. First time we have seen one here in the 20 years we have lived here.

Pileated Woodpecker


Goose930
9/29/2014

Location: Camp Arrowhead. South of Deerwood, MN on Hwy 6

 
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