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Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center

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Forest and Rangeland Birds of the United States

Natural History and Habitat Use

Hairy Woodpecker -- Picoides villosus

RANGE: Breeds from western and central Alaska, northern Saskatchewan, and Newfoundland south throughout most of North America to Central America and the Bahamas. Winters generally throughout the breeding range, with the more northern populations partially migratory southward.

STATUS: Stable population throughout most of its range.

HABITAT: Inhabits nearly all types of forest within its range, preferring bottomlands with large mature trees. Generally more abundant at the edge of woodlands.

SPECIAL HABITAT REQUIREMENTS: Nest trees over 10 inches dbh.

NEST: Excavates cavities in snags or in live trees with decaying heartwood. Usually chooses deciduous trees such as aspens, ashes, elms, or cottonwoods.

FOOD: Consumes a diet that is about 80 percent animal food (wood-boring beetles removed from dead and diseased trees are an important source of food). Also eats other insects, fruits, corn, nuts, and cambium.

REFERENCES: Beal 1911, Bent 1939, DeGraff et al. 1980, Johnsgard 1979, Kilham 1968, Lawrence 1967, Tate and Tate 1982, Thomas et al. 1979.

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