Downy Woodpecker Calls (3 Sounds w/ AUDIO)

Below, you will learn the 3 most common calls that a Downy Woodpecker makes, including what it sounds like when they drum against a tree! Make sure to press PLAY on the audio files below. 🙂

downy woodpecker calls and sounds and drumming

Downy Woodpecker Calls:

 


Sound #1: The whinny

A Downy Woodpecker’s most distinctive call is an excited, descending whinny. This high-pitched whinny call is made by both sexes. It is commonly heard in deciduous forests during the breeding season. 

Hairy Woodpeckers also make a similar call. But a Downy Woodpecker’s whinny is slightly longer and descends in pitch at the end, whereas a Hairy Woodpeckers’ whinny is shorter and stays the same pitch. 

 


Sound #2: “pik”

Downy Woodpecker’s also make a sharp, short “pik” call. This sound is typically repeated, with roughly half a second between each “pik.” 

The “pik” call of a Downy Woodpecker is higher-pitched and quieter than a Hairy Woodpeckers’ similar sounding “peek” call. 

 


Sound #3: Drumming

A Downy Woodpecker’s steady, rapid drumming almost blends into one uninterrupted sound. But, interestingly, a their drum is slower than most other North American woodpeckers. 

Downy Woodpeckers drum to communicate with each other. These sounds are used for claiming territories, courtship, calling to their mate, and as an alarm call. 

Downy Woodpeckers drum slower than Hairy Woodpeckers (15 taps/sec vs 25 taps/sec). But Downy’s drum more frequently, only pausing for a few seconds between each drum. Hairy Woodpeckers wait for roughly 20 seconds or more between drums 

 


Watch the short video below to hear more examples of Downy Woodpecker calls, sounds, and noises.