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Hairy WoodpeckerHairy Woodpecker
Hairy Woodpeckers are between 9 and 13 inches in length. They are a black-and-white woodpecker with a long, chisel-tipped bill. Females are slightly smaller and less bulky than males.

Hairy Woodpeckers find their food by feeling the vibrations made by insects moving about in the wood. They also can hear the insects munch on the wood!

Hairy Woodpeckers have a black forehead and crown; males have a red patch on their nape, whereas females have a black nape. A wide white supercilium with a broad black band extends through the eye to the ear coverts, then down the neck. The moustachial stripe is black, broadening on the neck. A black comma extends from the side of the neck to the upper breast. The chin and throat are white. The lower neck, sides of mantle, rump, and uppertail coverts are black. The back is almost entirely white. The upper coverts are black with large white spots. There is variation in the extent of the white spots across these coverts: with Pacific Northwest, southwestern, and southern races show little white on the wings. Flight feathers have white barring. The tail is centrally black with white outer tail feathers.

Hairy Woodpeckers are cavity nesters. Both sexes excavate a cavity in live wood. Hairy Woodpeckers will also use
nest boxes. 3 to 6 eggs are incubated by both parents. Males brood the eggs at night, and females during the day. Eggs hatch in about two weeks, and young birds leave the cavity in about a month. Young birds will accompany adults for the first two weeks or so before they become independent.

Although stable or increasing in numbers across most of the U.S., the Hairy Woodpecker has become rare and local in Florida and adjacent Georgia, where it continues to decline. In this region, the Hairy is found strictly in mature pine forests and strongly prefers recently burned areas. Natural wildfires play a vital ecological role in the southeastern U.S., and fire suppression by humans has made many species--including the Hairy Woodpecker--become threatened in this region.

Hairy Woodpecker Range Map
The Hairy Woodpecker breeds from western and central Alaska, northern Saskatchewan, and Newfoundland south throughout most of North America to Central America and the Bahamas. Winters generally throughout the breeding range, with the more northern populations partially migratory southward. The Hairy Woodpecker inhabits nearly all types of forest within its range, preferring bottomlands with large mature trees. Generally more abundant at the edge of woodlands.

A fairly numerous and widespread species, there are 14 recognized races of Hairy Woodpecker in North America. These are distinguished by
* size
* color of pale areas
* amount of white on wing

Confusion with Downy Woodpeckers
The range of Hairy and Downy woodpeckers overlaps across North America. Both are black-and-white woodpeckers, but they can be easily discriminated.

* Hairy Woodpeckers are larger.
* Hairy Woodpeckers have bills that are equal to or longer than the length of their head, whereas the Downy Woodpecker's bill length is shorter than its head.
* Hairy Woodpeckers have a black comma extending to the upper breast whereas Downy Woodpeckers do not.
* The white outer tail feathers of Hairy Woodpeckers are entirely white, whereas Downy Woodpeckers have spotted outer tail feathers.



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