This medium-sized woodpecker can be difficult to find in Florida, and it is often confused with the smaller, and more common, Downy Woodpecker. Hairy Woodpeckers are rare to uncommon, year-round residents in well-managed mixed forests throughout the state (except for the southern tip). Unlike the Downy Woodpecker, the Hairy Woodpecker spends most of its time foraging on tree trunks rather than on branches. When trying to distinguish between these two species, look for the Hairy Woodpecker’s larger size (9 inches vs. 6.5 inches), larger bill (long and chisel-like vs. short and stubby) and white outer tail feathers (the Downy Woodpecker’s outer tail feathers are white with black spots, giving a barred appearance). Also, compared to the Downy Woodpecker, Hairy Woodpecker calls are louder, sharper and do not drop in pitch as much. Hairy Woodpeckers are not typically found in urban and suburban areas.
Recommended GFBWT sites:
For more information, including a range map and sound recording, visit The Cornell Lab of Ornithology's All About Birds website.
The Hairy Woodpecker lives in forests with medium to large trees; it seems to prefer open pine forest in Florida.