I am often asked how to differentiate between a Downy and Hairy Woodpecker, as for many new to Bird watching it seems to be a bit of a challenge. It need not be, even though they do look much alike.
Equally at home in either an urban or rural setting, the diminutive Downy woodpecker is a welcomed guest at bird feeders, especially during this rather dull time of the year.
The smallest of the Woodpecker family found in North America, the Downy is about six inches long, from the tip of its bill to the tip of the centre tail feathers. It is adorned with black and white body feathers; the males have a red patch on the back of their head. They are often confused with the larger Hairy woodpecker as both sexes of each species are similar.