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Downy Woodpecker

In Illinois I saw a very interesting Downy Woodpecker.  Normally Downy Woodpeckers have a white breast, but this guy was brown.





I couldn’t find any websites that mention a Downy Woodpecker with a brown chest.  I found a lot of discussion of Hairy Woodpeckers having a brown chest.  For Hairy Woodpeckers, some websites say the male juveniles have brown chests.  Others say that the brown appears as a regional variation.  But this bird is clearly a Downy Woodpecker.  More specifically, this is a female adult Downy Woodpecker.


We know this is a female, because there’s no red on the back of her head.  We know this is an adult because her eyes are brown-reddish and juveniles have olive-brown eyes.



We know this is a Downy Woodpecker and not a Hairy Woodpecker because her beak isn’t long (the Hairy Woodpecker’s beak is as long as his head) and the tail feathers are white with black spots (the Hairy Woodpecker has pure white tail feathers).



I like this picture because you can see her little tongue.


2 Responses to “Downy Woodpecker”

  1. Kathy Walters says:

    Elizabeth have you submitted a picture to cornell and asked for a comment? Or you could try the facebook page for birdwatchers digest, or Julie Zickefoose or Chris West’s ‘The Facebook Bird ID Group of the World. The variations among a species of bird are fascinating to me.

  2. Elizabeth says:

    I keep intending to ask at birdforum, but then I get distracted. I like variations among species and I really like leucistic birds. So fun!