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pileated woodpecker

pileated woodpecker (Dryocopus pileatus)
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Features and Behaviors

An adult pileated woodpecker is 16 to 20 inches long. This bird is the largest woodpecker in North America. A red-feathered crest is present on the top of the head. The rest of the body feathers are black except for the underside of the wing, which has white feathers. It has zygodactylous feet (two toes forward, two toes backward). The male has bright red feathers on the forehead and a red spot on each side of the mouth. The female has no red markings on the forehead or cheek.

The pileated woodpecker is a permanent, statewide resident in Illinois. It lives in bottomland forests and woodlots. This bird feeds on ants, wood-boring beetles, other insects, acorns and berries. It is able to make large, oval holes in trees or wood by using the heavy bill. The call of this woodpecker is "kik-kikkik-kik-kik." The pileated woodpecker nests in large trees, especially sycamores, in bottomland forests. The nesting season occurs from April through May. Four white eggs are laid.

Illinois Range


​Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Piciformes
Family: Picidae

Illinois Status: common, native