An online resource based on the award-winning nature guide

Pileated Woodpecker’s Winter (and early spring) Diet

The mainstay (up to 60%) of a Pileated Woodpecker’s diet is Carpenter Ants (especially in the winter) with wood-boring beetle larvae (early spring) not far behind.  Flies, caterpillars, grasshoppers, termites, cockroaches and a variety of other insects are also consumed in summer.  However, these woodpeckers are not strictly insectivores.  During the fall and winter they seek out fruit (and nuts), including the fruit of Wild Grape, Virginia Creeper, Poison Ivy, Poison Sumac, American Holly, Elderberry, Blackberry, Raspberry, Hackberry and Crab Apple (pictured).  Roughly one-quarter of a Pileated Woodpecker’s diet may be fruits and nuts.  (Thanks to Sadie Brown for photo op.)

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7 responses

  1. We often see one eating wild grapes or sumac.

    March 13, 2020 at 7:02 am

  2. Don mccabe

    Mary, we have Pileateds coming to our cherry tree within feet of a large picture window. It’s free home entertainment and our good fortune to see them up close.
    Don

    March 13, 2020 at 7:17 am

  3. Lin Peyton

    What a Fabulous photo! (one of my favorite birds…)

    March 13, 2020 at 7:32 am

  4. Alice

    It’s so good to eat a varied diet.

    March 13, 2020 at 8:53 am

  5. Wow! What an incredible picture.

    March 13, 2020 at 9:01 am

  6. Matt Jones

    Great photo!

    March 13, 2020 at 9:55 am

  7. Margo Nutt

    Fabulous photo. You don’t often see them upside down.

    March 13, 2020 at 10:54 am

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