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Photo © Max Womack

Downy woodpecker

This is the smallest member of the family in Texas and the one most likely to occur at backyard feeders, especially those serving suet cakes. Males have a tiny red patch on the back of their heads, while females have no red. This woodpecker looks like a mini-me version of the hairy woodpecker. To tell the downy from the hairy, look for a downy’s shorter bill (shorter than the width of the bird’s head) and a few tiny black dots on the outer white tail feathers. The hairy woodpecker has a longer bill and snow-white outer tail feathers. Remember: “Downies have dots; hairies have not.”


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