Fun Pileated Woodpecker Facts For Kids

Joan Agie
Oct 20, 2022 By Joan Agie
Originally Published on Aug 05, 2021
Edited by Luca Demetriou
Pileated woodpecker facts about the North American bird

The pileated woodpecker (Dryocopus pileatus) is a majestic breed of the Woodpecker family. These are north American birds  with a bright red crest at the top of the head.

It also can be talked of as a romantic breed since they only mate for life and even have wooing rituals to attract their mates. When it comes to the appearance of the woodpecker pileated bird, the males have a red head while the females have a black head.

They prefer to make their burrows in trunks of large trees.

They are adept making their burrows in trunks of dead trees, live trees, and fallen logs. Their diet comprises of carpenter ants as well as fruits and nuts available on large trees.

Read on to find out more about these large north American birds that prefer to live on large trees. Discover interesting and fun pileated woodpecker facts for kids! After reading about interesting facts about pileated woodpeckers, you may also like to look at bird of paradise and barn owl for more information on birds and their habitats. 

Pileated Woodpecker Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a pileated woodpecker?

The pileated woodpecker (Dryocopus pileatus) is a bird of the Picidae family. By woodpecker standards, the pileated woodpecker is quite large, almost as large as a regular crow.

Being non-migratory birds, they are predominantly found in North America, Canada, and other North-Western countries. The technical name for this bird is the Dryocopus pileatus. They are large birds who belong to forests only.

In general, they require trees which are tall or wood, whether of dead or alive trees. Their flight patterns are wave-like, resembling the flight patterns of woodpeckers at large.

What class of animal does a pileated woodpecker belong to?

The pileated woodpecker belongs to the class of birds, specifically, the Picidae family. They are largely insectivorous birds and hunt for their meals in wood from trees or dead barks.

How many pileated woodpeckers are there in the world?

There are roughly two million pileated woodpeckers in the world as of now, and they are largely concentrated in the United States of America, and it's northern neighbor, Canada.

Where does a Pileated Woodpecker live?

The pileated woodpecker lives in forests. Any forest with tall trees or dead trees in abundance can be home to this species of woodpeckers.

If fresh and living trees are unavailable in their proximity, they make do with the dead, rotting wood. As of today, a major chunk, about 66% of the total global population of the pileated woodpecker population, are found in the United States of America and about 33% in Canada.

This is essentially due to the existence of heavily wooded areas in these countries.

What is a pileated woodpecker's habitat?

Forests that have either tall, green trees and plants form the ideal habitats for the pileated woodpecker. However, recent trends have seen that even slightly scarce forests with dead trees and rotting wood can be their homes.

These requirements exist due to the pileated woodpecker's primary source of food that is insects. Using their beaks, they make rectangular holes in trees and feast on the ants, beetles, flies, cockroaches, and so on. However, they also feast on vegetation such as hackberry, wild fruits, poison ivy, elderberry and so on.

Who do pileated woodpeckers live with?

Pileated woodpeckers live in pairs since they are monogamous. However, when a mate dies, the bird finds another mate in order to breed. They are generally known to occupy large territories and continue to breed in order to protect these territories. The pair lives around the territory all year round.

How long does a pileated woodpecker live?

The average pileated woodpecker lives to a ripe age of 13 years. The age increases slightly if these birds are kept in captivity.

How do they reproduce?

Quite interestingly, the pileated woodpecker engages in a wooing ritual consisting of a courtship dance wherein a bird bows and revolves around the other bird in a sideways fashion. Having done this, they mate for life. The female lays, on an average, four eggs at a time. They then incubate the eggs for about two weeks.

What is their conservation status?

The pileated woodpecker is a common bird and definitely not in any danger as a species. Their conservation status as of today, stands at Least Concern, thanks to their rapidly proliferating population in the early 2000s.

Their global population has almost certainly decreased since the early twentieth century, but experts don't consider that to be an alarm of any sort.

Pileated Woodpecker Fun Facts

What do pileated woodpeckers look like?

The pileated woodpeckers are quite large. It is considered to be the largest woodpecker in the North American forests.

With black and white stripes on the neck, a hot redhead, and a red crest, they are a pretty sight to look at. When in flight, their white, crescent-shaped underwings can be observed. Their beaks are almost as big as their skulls and are sharp, long, and sturdy to help them peck their way into the wood.

Pileated Woodpecker is a crow sized north American bird.

How cute are they?

The pileated woodpecker is not as cute as it is striking to behold because of its heavily contrasting colors and large size.

How do they communicate?

Their communication styles are called drumming communications. What they essentially do is peck loudly at sonorous objects to establish their dominance over a specific territory—pileated woodpecker call-outs its mate.

How big is a pileated woodpecker?

The pileated woodpecker is the largest woodpecker in the forests of North America and is almost as large as a regular crow-sized. With a wingspan of 26-30 in and lengths of 16-20 in, the pileated woodpecker can often be mistaken for a crow.

How fast can a pileated woodpecker fly?

It has a mean value of 9.55 m/s flight speed and a 0.705 m wingspan.

How much does a pileated woodpecker weigh?

An adult pileated woodpecker weighs about 0.55-0.88 lb.

What are their male and female names of the species?

As pileated woodpecker is a bird belonging to the Picidae family, the male Dryocopus pileatus is referred to as male pileated woodpecker while the females are referred to as female pileated woodpecker.

What would you call a baby pileated woodpecker?

A baby pileated woodpecker is referred to as a nestling.

What do they eat?

The pileated woodpeckers are primarily insectivores and as such, feeds on ants, beetle larvae, worms, flies, caterpillars, cockroaches and so on. However, they have also been observed to eat wild fruits, poison ivy, dogwood, elderberry, and other fruits found in their habitats.

Are they dangerous?

Like most birds, pileated woodpeckers do not like to mix with humans. However, they can be deemed as a menace due to their constant loud pecking noises and damage to trees and other property.

Would they make a good pet?

No, these woodpeckers would not make for good pets. They are noisy birds who like to peck on sonorous objects and are capable of destroying the property around them.

Did you know...

Pileated Woodpeckers use their barbed tongue to pull out wood-boring beetle eggs. The woodpecker also makes rectangular holes in dried and rotting barks so that they can access ants to eat.

In the game of hunting ants in trees, the pileated woodpecker dig rectangular holes with the help of their bill.

Large snags are preferred by the pileated woodpecker for nesting.

The pileated woodpecker's survival techniques

The cells in the beaks of pileated woodpeckers are replaced constantly to prevent from damage.

They feed on Beatle larvae and other insects to survive days when other types of foods are not available.

They use their stiff tail for balancing when climbing on trees.

Their feet are specially adapted to provide a firm grip on the trees.

Their skull is built to withstand the damage from pecking all day.

Symbolism of the pileated woodpecker

The pileated woodpecker is traditionally associated with faithfulness and consistency. People also believe that it is symbolic of making lemonade if life gives you lemons!

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other birds including secretary bird, or great green macaw.

You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one on our Pileated Woodpecker coloring pages.

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Written by Joan Agie

Bachelor of Science specializing in Human Anatomy

Joan Agie picture

Joan AgieBachelor of Science specializing in Human Anatomy

With 3+ years of research and content writing experience across several niches, especially on education, technology, and business topics. Joan holds a Bachelor’s degree in Human Anatomy from the Federal University of Technology, Akure, Nigeria, and has worked as a researcher and writer for organizations across Nigeria, the US, the UK, and Germany. Joan enjoys meditation, watching movies, and learning new languages in her free time.

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