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 woodpecker, 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.
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