Downys have a white belly and back and their black wings have white bars. Only the males have a red patch on the back of the head. And they are called downy because of the soft white feathers on their back.
Downy woodpeckers are confused commonly with Hairy woodpeckers, their larger cousins, which have similar plumage, but are around 9 inches.
They use vocalizations and body signals to communicate. They produce a variety of sounds, including "pik", rattle, scolding, "wad", "chirp", squeak, screech, and distress calls. The "pik" call introduces the rattle call, and these are used during aggressive interactions. Short calls, the "wad" and "chirp", are uttered by young birds. A longer note call, the squeak, is also uttered by young downy woodpeckers. The screech and distress calls are used to signal alarm.
Drumming is a common non-vocal sound used by downy woodpeckers to communicate. This sound is heard most frequently in late winter and spring, and is used to establish and defend a territory, to attract a mate and to communicate between mates.
Downy woodpeckers also use body postures to communicate. Postures exhibited by downy woodpeckers often include some combination of bill pointing and waving, wing flicking, crest raising, wing spreading, tail spreading, head turning and head swinging.
-How do I stop woodpeckers from pecking on my house? http://bit.ly/KGItqF
-What’s the best suet for Michigan wild birds? http://bit.ly/tcKasp
-Hairy Woodpecker vs. Downy Woodpecker http://goo.gl/WMH31
-How many woodpeckers are in Michigan? http://goo.gl/P2qRv
-How do I Attract Woodpeckers? http://bit.ly/o4CLqI