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Birds: The Pileated Woodpecker

Size: 16-1/2" (length)

Latin (Scientific) Name: Dryocopus pileatus

Description: Perched bird is almost entirely black on back and wings, lacking Ivory-billed Woodpecker's large white wing patches. White chin and dark bill also distinguish Pileated Woodpecker, along with smaller size (compared to 19-1/2" length for Ivory-billed). Note the Pileated's deep, slow, crow-like wingbeats. This is the largest woodpecker now seen in North America. Female's red cap is less extensive than in male. Juvenile plumage, held briefly, resembles adult but is duller and browner overall. Generally shy. Call is a loud wuck note or series of notes, given all year, often in flight. Similar call of the Northern Flicker is given only in the breeding season.

Range: Prefers dense, mature forest. In woodlots and parklands as well as deep woods, listen for its loud, resonant, territorial drumming, given by both sexes but less frequently by females; look for the long rectangular or oval holes it excavates. Carpenter ants in fallen trees and stumps are its major food. Common in southeast; uncommon and local elsewhere.

At CLT: Signs of Pileated Woodpeckers abound at CLT although the bird itself makes only rare appearances around the cabin.

pileated woodpecker holes in tree
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  Descriptions courtesy of Field Guide to Birds of North America