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The downy woodpecker (Dryobates pubescens) is a species of woodpecker, the smallest in North America. Length ranges from 14 to 18 cm (5.5 to 7.1 in). Downy woodpeckers primarily live in forested areas throughout the United States and Canada, with the exception of deserts in the southwest and the northern tundra. The bird nests in tree cavities and feeds primarily on insects, although it supplements its diet with seeds and berries. Downy woodpeckers are native predators of the European corn borer, contributing to controlling this invasive species.
The downy woodpecker is very similar in appearance to the hairy woodpecker, although they are not closely related.Their resemblance is a result of convergent evolution.
Seven subspecies of the downy woodpecker are recognized, inhabiting different regions across North America. The smallest of North America's woodpeckers, downy woodpeckers are mainly black and white, with adult males having a red patch on the back of the head. They can be distinguished from hairy woodpeckers by their black-spotted white tail feathers and a shorter bill.