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GAP Analysis Predicted Distribution Map

Downy Woodpecker (Picoides pubescens)

Species Code: PIPU

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Breeding Range Map
The green area shows the predicted habitats for breeding only.
© NatureMapping Program

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Predicted breeding range

= Core Habitat
= Marginal Habitat


Downy woodpecker photo

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Breeding Range Map
The green area shows the predicted habitats for breeding only. The habitats were identified using 1991 satellite imagery, Breeding Bird Atlas (BBA), other datasets and experts throughout the state, as part of the Washington Gap Analysis Project. Habitats used during non-breeding months and migratory rest-stops were not mapped.

NatureMapping observations map   Map with Breeding 
Bird Atlas records
Observations | Historic Gap points

Metadata (Data about data or how the map was made)


This species is common in hardwood and mixed forest, residential areas with hardwood trees, and hardwood-dominated riparian areas at low and moderate elevations above the Columbia Basin. They are, however, a locally uncommon breeder in the Columbia Basin east of the Potholes area, and in the Palouse. In eastern Washington forested zones, they were usually restricted to riparian corridors along lower forest zones.

Good habitat in the core areas of use included all hardwood and mixed forests, hardwood-dominated woody riparian areas, agriculture in forested zones, orchards in steppe zones, mid- to low-density residential areas, and city parks/gardens, below the Silver Fir zone in western Washington, and below and including the Interior Western Hemlock zone in eastern Washington.

Three subspecies breed in Washington: P. p. leucurus of far eastern Washington, P. p turati of the eastern Cascades, and P. p gairdnerii of western Washington. The Hairy Woodpecker and Downy Woodpecker have neatly divided the state based on their individual tree preferences: Downy Woodpeckers prefer hardwood trees while Hairy Woodpeckers prefer coniferous trees. In Washington, this translates to the Downy inhabiting the combination of the habitats listed above, all of which tend to have hardwood trees as a major component. This species has certainly increased due to the settlement of the Puget Trough. Before European settlement, the Puget Trough was dominated by conifers, which are more suitable for Hairy Woodpeckers. As forests were cut and cities built, the dominate trees in the Puget Trough changed to hardwood second-growth in forests and hardwood ornamental trees in yards, resulting in more habitat for Downy Woodpeckers.

Translated from the Washington Gap Analysis Bird Volume by Uchenna Bright
Text edited by Gussie Litwer
Webpage designed by Dave Lester