Bird Sounds: Pileated Woodpecker

Pileated Woodpecker Calls

April 29, 2016
Bird Sounds and Calls-Pileated Woodpecker-Thinkstock

A Pileated Woodpecker feeds her young.

Photo by Thinkstock

Here you can identify the sounds and bird calls of the Pileated Woodpecker. Compliments of The Macaulay Library at The Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

Click here to listen to the sounds of other birds!

Have you heard a Pileated Woodpecker? Add your comments below. Be sure to let us know where you live or where you’ve heard this bird sound before!

Reader Comments

Leave a Comment

Pileated woodpecker

I have never heard but the drumming against a tree, but today I watched and heard a pileated woodpecker sounding like a duck at intervals between the pecking sound against an old tree stump. We have woods behind our home. One year a dead pileated woodpecker was in our driveway, probably not long after hearing the pecking against a tree.

Pileated Woodpecker SW MI

I’m in southwestern Michigan very close to Ohio. Saw my first ever Pileated today! So much bigger and beautiful than I expected!!

Pleated woodpecker

Love seeing my buddy daily at the suet feeder. Just a few feet away from window. We live in West Central Missouri.

Pileated Woodpecker

Laughing at the comments below! We too called this bird sound our mysterious African jungle bird. Good to now know what that amazing call is! He never made the sound when on our suet feeder.

Pileated Woodpecker Sounds

Hi, One afternoon I was sitting on the porch and heard what sounded like laughing monkeys! Lol Then a few minutes later a pair of them landed in a tree close enough for me to get a good look at them. They started talking again and I realized that’s what I heard! We’ve seen them quite a bit lately. We live in Southside Virginia, close to NC line.

Thank you for sharing the sounds of birds! Wonderful to know whose talking and singing about you ❤️

Pileated Woodpecker

I knew there was one or two around my area, but over the last few days one has been visiting my suet feeder, maybe 10-12 feet from my window. A delightful site. Now it has identified another food source I hope to see many return visits. Suet is enjoyed by the other woodpeckers as well as catbirds.

Pileated Woodpecker calls

I have a question . . . I see and hear Pileated Woodpeckers around my home (in central Virginia) all the time. Their call is quite distinctive and once I had the rare opportunity to watch a pair in their courting ritual and mating (it lasted for over an hour). So now I'm reading on several websites that woodpeckers "have no vocal cords." How do they emit their loud calls without vocal cords?

Pileated woodpecker

I hear it often near Howey-in-the-Hills, FL.

Big Stone City South Dakota

Big Stone City South Dakota

Pileated woodpecker

Early this spring we saw a pileated in our suet feeder, then about a month later we saw four flying around. They are very shy; as soon as they see someone moving around in the house they fly away. We never heard them make any sound until today. The pileated here today is very vocal when in the pine tree by the house.

Pileated Woodpeckers

We have two pileated woodpeckers that we can hear calling and pecking the trees in our yard in Kingston,NH. They come to our window feeder because they absolutely LOVE peanuts. They also enjoy the suet we put out in the yard. We love watching them. They are truly a magnificent bird!


We have several young adults...

Wood peckers

we have a pileated woodpeckers at our home which we are feeding and we are looking for all the information we can get to make this a safe habitat for them

red bellied woodpecker

Carlisle, Pennsylvania.... I was curious why the woodpecker can be pecking on the tree right in front of me but I dont hear the pecking. But if the woodpecker is at a different tree away from me I hear it? Every day we see the woodpecker pecking at the trees and hear them in the background. We have one living in a maple tree in the back yard and we feed them peanut butter suet cakes all the time they love it!

Pileated woodpecker

Last night I heard a bird that I thought was a jungle bird. I knew I had heard that sound before, but couldn't remember where, maybe the Jumanji movie? I searched half the day to match the sound and the closest I could find was an Australian kookaburra. Couldn't have been that so I kept searching. It had to have been a Pileated woodpecker. I've never seen one, but a friend a couple towns away took a picture of one on her tree a couple months ago in Oxford Connecticut. It was dark out and early evening when it made that loud wonderful sound. I am going to play this recording of it and hope it responds. Now I'll have to go get a suet feeder and cross my fingers for a viewing of it.

Pileated woodpeckers in Southwest Ohio

We have daily sightings and listenings to pileated woodpeckers here in Clermont county in SW Ohio.
I have observed them on sycamore trees and oak trees mostly.

Pleated woodpecker

Amazing to watch and hear. Two look as if they were excavating a nest one was watching as the male was drilling in my backyard tree. Orlando, Fl.

Pileated woodpecker

yes we have several in our backyard they love eating the grapes that grow all over our trees I love to hear that beautiful call

Pileated woodpecker

We have several I hear and see every morning and I live near Holly Springs, MS

Pileated Woodpecker

I have two that come to my feeders every day. They have pecked at my windows and once at my door. I enjoy watching them, they are so facinating!!!
Poland, IN

Pileated Red Headed Woodpecker

I live in Charlotte, NY, which is part of the city of Rochester, and has the lake to the North and river to the east. My street ends on the West Bank gorge of the Genesee. I saw a pair of them this am in my backyard! I heard them first!!!

Pileated woodpeckers

Just saw two pileated woodpeckers on the live oak trees right outside my window. They made the exact sound of your recording.

Pileated Woodpecker

We just moved down by the lake in Golden Missouri and are still learning the sounds of all the wildlife, we were in the garage when we heard the ruckus, we walked out to see these two beautiful woodpeckers going round and round on the tree, one kept its wings flared out while the other kept its wings tucked in. They circled this tree on there feet up and down the trunk as if playing catch me if you can for about 15 minutes before they flew away.

Pileate woodpecker

We have had this woodpecker visit us a couple of times. The first time was two years ago. It took quite a chunk out of our maple tree. This year it appeared again. You could hear it before you could see it. I put up a brightly colored flag next to the tree to try to scare it away as it makes quite a mess. We reside in New Brunswick ,Canada.

I heard him but couldn't see him

I kept playing this recording and he flew over me twice!

Pileated woodpecker

We have one ( or more) that live around our house. Frankly, he was a pest in that he attacked and pecked at our windows on the house. We tried several strategies- but the one that seemed to work the best was taping an owl picture to the window. This seems to have stopped his "attacks" ( probably because he doesn't see his own reflection as well any more)

Pileated woodpeckers

We have a local colony of pileated woodpeckers. When walking our dog thru a small lakeside park, we saw a family of pileated woodpeckers on the ground. Male and female were both showing the fledglings how (and what?) to eat and feeding them. I hear them often, but seeing them is rare and then to see a family of them was a once in a lifetime event.

May 28, 2017, Roachdale, IN

Had one in our back yard yesterday early afternoon, eating berries and looking for insects.

Pileated woodpecker

The pileated woodpecker I have seen and heard at the edge of the woods behind my house is magnificent. There are at least 2, because I have heard two distinct pecking sounds from different areas at the same time. I live in central Pennsylvania near Altoona. I have seen these woodpeckers sporadically for the last 20 years.

We have these in our woods

We live in Southern Alabama about 10 miles outside of Evergreen in the community of Flat Rock. Our home is in the edge of the woods, and I love to watch them land in our trees in the front of the house and make their distinctive call. We call them Indian Hens.