The Majesty of the Female Pileated Woodpecker

Few people know about the beauty and majesty of the female pileated woodpecker. This bird is not as well-known as its male counterpart, but it is just as amazing. The female pileated woodpecker is smaller than the male, but that doesn’t make her any less impressive. She has a beautiful red crest on her head and a black body with white stripes down her back. She can also fly faster and longer than the male woodpecker.

The female pileated woodpecker is a master of adaptation. She can easily navigate dense forests and find food in the most unexpected places. Her powerful beak allows her to break through tough tree bark and gather insects, grubs, and other tasty morsels hidden beneath it.

In addition to being an excellent forager, the female pileated woodpecker is also an excellent parent. She helps build a nest to keep her chicks safe and warm and takes turns with her mate to incubate the eggs. Once her chicks have hatched, she continues to protect them until they are old enough to fly on their own.

Female Pileated Woodpeckers 

Female Pileated Woodpeckers 

Female pileated woodpeckers are an interesting species of bird, both in appearance and behavioral traits. Unlike their fellow birds, female woodpeckers lack the showy red crest that characterizes the males.

Despite this difference, female woodpeckers have a unique placement of black and white feathers around their face which serves as a handsome adornment. Female pileated woodpeckers also hunger for different food sources than the males, preferring plants such as soft fruits, nuts and berries versus the insects sought out by males.

Further setting female pileated woodpeckers apart from male counterparts is the fact that they hunker down at night while male birds choose to roost up high in trees or on branches. Through their remarkable adaptations female pileated woodpeckers persevere in surviving in their chosen habitats.

What does a female Pileated Woodpecker look like?

The female pileated woodpecker has a dramatically different appearance compared to her male counterpart. While the male has a defined black and red crest and red mustache. In addition, she is sturdy yet slimmer than the male of the species and typically has no or minimal red markings on her face.

Despite being less flashy in terms of visible markings, female pileated woodpeckers have just as much personality as their male counterparts – they carry out drilling tasks in the same manner, are equally adept at flying through woods, and actively partake in social activities.

What color are female Pileated Woodpeckers?

What color are female Pileated Woodpeckers?

Female Pileated Woodpeckers boast a beautiful and unique look that sets them apart from the males. They are mainly black with some white detailing and often have red plumage on the head, wings and back.

The female’s feathers are generally less bright than a male’s, and their heads often appear more grey rather than red. Generally female Pileated Woodpeckers blend in with their environments more than male birds do due to their subtle coloring.

While the female might not stand out as much as the male, she is still quite a formidable sight to behold when spotted out in nature or hovering around your backyard feeder!

Are female Pileated Woodpeckers bigger than males?

No, female pileated woodpeckers are not bigger than males. In fact, they tend to be slightly smaller than their male counterparts. The average female is about 17 inches long and the average male is around 19 inches long.

Female pileated woodpeckers also weigh less than the males of the species; females typically weigh between 8-9 ounces, while males can weigh up to 12 ounces. Despite the size difference, both sexes are just as capable when it comes to foraging and drumming on tree trunks for food. The female pileated woodpecker is a force to be reckoned with in her own right!

Can female Pileated Woodpeckers raise young alone?

Can female Pileated Woodpeckers raise young alone?

Yes, female pileated woodpeckers are capable of raising their young without the assistance of a mate. While they do prefer to have a mate, it is not always necessary for them to successfully raise their chicks. Female pileated woodpeckers typically build a nest in dead trees and use moss, twigs and bark as nesting material. They will typically lay anywhere from 2-6 eggs and incubate them for around 15-18 days before the chicks hatch.

As soon as the young birds are born, both the male and female pileated woodpeckers take turns feeding them regurgitated food until they a pproximately 24 to 28 days old when they become independent. Female pileated woodpeckers are incredibly resilient and determined to provide for their young even if the father is not present.

Tell me the difference between male and female Pileated Woodpeckers?

Tell me the difference between male and female Pileated Woodpeckers?

The most obvious difference between male and female pileated woodpeckers is their coloration. The male has a striking black and red crest and mustache that are absent on the female. In addition, the male is usually bulkier than the female with more dark feathers while the female typically has more white detailing in her feathers. 

Another significant difference between the sexes is that female pileated woodpeckers can raise their young without a mate, whereas males are dependent on having a partner to help incubate eggs and feed chicks. The chicks are fed regurgitated food by both parents until they reach independence at around 24 to 28 days old. 

Finally, female pileated woodpeckers have less glossy feathers than males and their heads usually appear more gray than red. This helps them to blend in with the environment more than male birds do, allowing them to stay hidden from potential predators.

Female pileated woodpeckers are just as capable and impressive as their male counterparts, so keep an eye out for these beautiful avian creatures next time you’re in the outdoors!

Habitat and Range

Pileated woodpeckers are mainly found in mature forests with large trees and an abundance of deadwood. These areas provide ample food sources (insects, grubs, nuts) and nesting sites for the birds to take refuge and raise their young.

The species is native to North America and can be seen in the eastern U.S. and Canada as well as parts of the western U.S. and Mexico. Pileated woodpeckers also inhabit scattered areas around the Caribbean Islands from Cuba to Jamaica.

These remarkable birds are most often seen in large, open woodlands close to streams or wetlands where they can forage for food and find suitable nesting sites. They are also known to inhabit a variety of other forest types such as coniferous, deciduous, and mixed woodlands. Pileated woodpeckers will even venture into suburban areas in search of food if the habitat is suitable.

Overall, pileated woodpeckers can be found anywhere from Nova Scotia all the way to parts of Mexico and Cuba, so you’re likely to see them if you live in or near a wooded area. These birds are hardy and resilient, which is why they have remained successful even as their habitat continues to be impacted by human activities.

Pileated woodpeckers play an important role in their environment by creating cavities in trees which provide nesting sites for other birds and mammals. They are also quite effective at removing wood-boring insects, making them highly beneficial to the ecosystem.


Pileated woodpeckers are strong, resilient birds that have managed to survive and thrive despite the destruction of their habitat.

These birds can be found in mature forests throughout North America, providing benefits such as removing wood-boring insects from trees and creating cavities for other species to use as nesting sites. Male and female pileated woodpeckers differ in several ways, such as size and coloring, but both sexes are impressive in their own right.


How big is a female pileated woodpecker?

Female pileated woodpeckers are typically smaller than males and measure around 16-18 inches in length with a wingspan of 28-29 inches.

Which is the bigger male or female pileated woodpecker?

The male is usually bulkier than the female with a larger wingspan, but size can vary depending on the individual bird.

How long do pileated woodpeckers stay with their parents?

Pileated woodpecker chicks stay with their parents until they reach independence at around 24-28 days old.
Julian Goldie - Owner of

Julian Goldie

I'm a bird enthusiast and creator of Chipper Birds, a blog sharing my experience caring for birds. I've traveled the world bird watching and I'm committed to helping others with bird care. Contact me at [email protected] for assistance.