Sunday, March 7, 2010

A visual comparison of a Hairy vs a Downy Woodpecker.

Today's post is a comparison of the Hairy and Downy woodpeckers.  When viewing these birds in the wild as separate species they really look identical, but together there are some very distinct differences. 

The first picture is of a Hairy Woodpecker. Notice the length of the beak, the actual size and the distinct black pattern below the eye and away from the beak.  It is slighty larger above the wing on the Hairy then that of the Downy.

Female Downy Woodpecker (notice short beak, straight line away from the beek without much downward spread).  The female also does not have a red cap.

Both birds in one shot.  Clearly two different birds.  I wish I could perfect getting both birds in focus.  The Downy looks slighty bothered by the Hairy.  Little scowl on his beak!  :)


Wendy said...

I have both Hairy and Downey - and Red Bellied woodpeckers all come to my feeders. I love them!! They are bold!

cindyzlogic said...

Wow! Great photo comparison and explaination! Thanks, John!

Beverly said...

Sweet photographs! You know you'll never be able to clearly focus something behind another, though...well, perhaps in 3-D? LOL

Besides an inch or so in size, another way to tell Hairys from Downeys is by the length of the bill. A Hairy's beak is about as long as it's head is wide, while the Downy's is petite by comparison. I usually say: 'Huge Hairy's/Diminutive Downey's' when thinking of their help me remember.

Great shots, I'm embarrassed you said mine were good. In fact, I DO take them for identification; you (clearly) are a photographer!

Thanks again for visiting.