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debohinoh

What woodpeckers? (much red + no red)

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These woodpeckers appeared at my backyard feeder in Cleveland, Ohio, mid-afternoon, in May. One has no red, and one has too much red to match any of the usual illustrations or descriptions. They were eating a "woodpecker mix" full of tree nuts, along with a "fruit & nut" mix. The B&W one also ate from some "year-round suet."

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I originally thought the little B&W one was a downy, but all the illustrations I found showed it with a clear red band on the top/back of its head, and this one had no red on its head. Could it be that juveniles or females don't have that red section?

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Posted (edited)

Your logic is correct. Female Downy Woodpeckers do not have the red. (Juveniles don't either, but your bird is an adult.)

Edited by meghann
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4 hours ago, Sean C said:

3-4: I'm leaning HAWO due to size

If that's a standard fence panel, the crosspiece she's perched on is 4" wide.  That would indicate Downy instead of Hairy.

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2 hours ago, Charlie Spencer said:

If that's a standard fence panel, the crosspiece she's perched on is 4" wide.  That would indicate Downy instead of Hairy.

Yes, it's a standard fence panel. The bird is Downy-sized and smaller than the Hairy that comes around. What threw me was the complete lack of red, but I've since learned here that females don't have the red. 

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Posted (edited)
14 minutes ago, debohinoh said:

Yes, it's a standard fence panel. The bird is Downy-sized and smaller than the Hairy that comes around. What threw me was the complete lack of red, but I've since learned here that females don't have the red. 

In many woodpeckers, it's common for the females to lack the red / colored highlights of the males or to have much less.

Might I ask what references you were using that apparently didn't show the females?  You might want to look at https://www.allaboutbirds.org/

Edited by Charlie Spencer
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17 minutes ago, Charlie Spencer said:

Might I ask what references you were using that apparently didn't show the females?  You might want to look at https://www.allaboutbirds.org/

I'd just gone to whatbird.com's overview page on the Downy Woodpecker. All the graphics were just labeled "adult" by region, and they all had red. The only mention of female was regarding their different preferences for tree branch height and diameter. Perhaps I missed something that's obvious to more experienced viewers. I'll remember these valuable lessons and insights from now on!

Thanks for the intro to allaboutbirds.org. 

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