downy woodpecker


: a small black-and-white woodpecker (Picoides pubescens) of North America that has a white back and is smaller than the hairy woodpecker

Examples of downy woodpecker in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Tree swallows, for example, got 2.8% smaller, American robins got 1.2% smaller, and downy woodpeckers got 2.2% smaller. Doyle Rice, USA TODAY, 8 May 2023 The hairy woodpecker and the downy woodpecker are quite similar and can be difficult for novice birders to distinguish. John Schandelmeier, Anchorage Daily News, 24 Oct. 2021 There are 23 species native to the United States—from the tiny downy woodpecker that is only a few inches in length, to the giant pileated woodpecker that’s nearly the size of a crow. Outdoor Life, 26 Feb. 2021 The downy woodpecker, for example, is smaller than a robin. Chelsey Lewis, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 4 May 2020 Other insect-eating birds, like downy woodpeckers, chickadees, and titmice, can find insect larvae under tree bark in winter, or switch to seeds or bird feeders, Petersen said. Don Lyman,, 24 Jan. 2020 In addition to the hairy and downy woodpeckers, there are bigger and brighter woodpeckers happy to entertain the gardener and other nature lovers. Adrian Higgins, Washington Post, 17 July 2019 One challenge was to discern the hairy woodpecker from its doppelganger, the downy woodpecker. Adrian Higgins, Washington Post, 17 July 2019 When the downy woodpeckers were examined, eight out of ten did. Conor Dillon, USA TODAY, 6 Feb. 2018

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'downy woodpecker.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1785, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of downy woodpecker was in 1785

Dictionary Entries Near downy woodpecker

Cite this Entry

“Downy woodpecker.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition

downy woodpecker

: a small black-and-white woodpecker of North America that has a white back

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