Pileated Woodpecker

Dryocopus pileatus

Copyright, Chandler S. Robbins

This large woodpecker is the same size as a crow, reaching about 15 inches long. Its body is black and white, and it has a large red crest on its head.

The Pileated Woodpecker lives in open forests, usually where there are a lot of pine trees. In Virginia, these birds usually nest in White Pine, Hickory, Yellow Poplar, Maple, Sycamore, Red Oak, White Oak, Chestnut, or Sweetgum trees.

Woodpeckers usually create holes in already-hollow trees. These trees are usually weakened by fungus. They will make up to 16 holes in each tree to allow escape routes should a predator enter the tree.

Pileated Woodpeckers often live in groups and share up to 30 trees with cavities (holes). Some cavities will be under construction, some will be in use, and some will be abandoned.

Woodpeckers will peck the bark around the entrance holes to make the sap run from the tree. This will keep some predators, such as snakes, from entering.

The Pileated Woodpecker's diet consists mostly of insects found under the bark, or on branches, of pine trees. They especially like to eat Carpenter Ants, and the woodpeckers will reach their long, sticky tongues into the hole to get to the food.

Copyright, R. W. Scott, Birds in Flight

Other foods include acorns and fruits.

Pileated Woodpeckers lay two to four white eggs, and the young are raised by both parents. Their greatest enemies are snakes, which eat eggs and like to live in woodpecker holes.

Pileated Woodpeckers were removed from the endangered species list.

Huntley Meadows Park

Additional Media

Description
Type
Credit
Pileated Woodpecker Call
Sound
John R. Sauer
Pileated Woodpecker
Video
Unknown
Download Quicktime if you are unable to play video.

Relationships in Nature:

PREY/FOOD
PREDATORS
SHELTER
OTHER

Black Carpenter Ant

Black Rat Snake

Eastern White Pine

Crowded Parchment FA

Patent-leather Beetle

Red-tailed Hawk

American Sycamore

Black Cherry D

Black Oak

Sharp-shinned Hawk

Sweetgum

Poison Ivy D

White Oak

Yellow Poplar

Big Brown Bat SP

American Beech

Virginia Pine

Black Rat Snake SP

Flowering Dogwood

Black Oak

Wood Duck SP

Virginia Creeper

American Elm

Carolina Chickadee SP

Poison Ivy

American Beech

Common Elderberry D

Horned Fungus Beetle

Black Willow

Black Oak D

Black Cherry

Red Maple

White Oak D

Wild Grape

Mockernut Hickory

American Beech D

Sassafras

White Oak

Flowering Dogwood D

American Holly

Silver Maple

Virginia Creeper D

Greenbrier

Loblolly Pine

Wild Grape D

Common Elderberry

Black Locust

Sassafras D

Wood Duck

American Holly D

Eastern Hercules Beetle

Greenbrier D

Dogwood Borer

Tufted Titmouse SP

Relationship to Humans:

Pileated Woodpeckers benefit humans by helping to control pest populations, such as ants and termites. They also indirectly help us by providing shelter for other beneficial animals, such as snakes and bats, by creating holes in trees.

SCIENTIFIC CLASSIFICATION

KINGDOM
Animal
PHYLUM
Chordate
CLASS
Bird
ORDER
Piciformes
FAMILY
Picidae
GENUS
Dryocopus
SPECIES
Dryocopus pileatus

QUICK LINKS

Organism Menu
Home
Glossary
Student Activities
Relationships
Classification Info
How to Use This Site
Bibliography