General Description: The smallest of Washington’s woodpeckers. Its plumage is a mix of black and white. The wings, lower back, and and tail are black with white spots. Upper back and outer tail feathers are white. Underside is white; head is marked with wide alternating black and white stripes. The males have red spot at back of head.
Habitat: Typically inhabits broadleaved and mixed forests, particularly those with black cottonwood and willow. Also found in residential areas.
Behavior: Downy woodpeckers maintain feeding territories year round but often join winter flocks of chickadees and nuthatches. Acrobatic foragers, they can hang upside down to search branches and bark crevices for food. Form monogamous breeding pairs in winter, roosting in holes in soft or rotten wood.
Diet: Primarily insects such as ants and beetles. Also feeds on berries, seeds, and suet.
Range in North America: Year round in southern Canada and most of the U.S.
When to See in Washington: Year round in Western Washington and many areas of Eastern Washington.