Identification of Great spotted Woodpecker

The Birder's Market | Resource | Birds of Britain and Europe ID Guide | Woodpeckers | Great Spotted Woodpecker Dendrocopos major |  Identification of Great spotted Woodpecker

Identification of Great Spotted Woodpecker

Identification of Great Spotted Woodpecker

Length approx 22cm .The most common Western palearctic 'pied' woodpecker with a range covering all of continental Europe.It is absent however from Ireland and Iceland.Sexes are alike although the male bird shows a red patch to the nape (clearly visible in the illustration right).Juvenile Great spotted woodpecker show a red patch to the forehead and can be mistaken by the novice birder as an adult male Lesser Spotted Woodpecker , but it should be remembered that the Lesser Spotted Woodpecker is much smaller (the size of a dunnock).A selection of field recordings feature on birding-radio.co.uk (home page) with examples of the Great spotted Woodpecker's characteristic metallic 'KEK' and also its drumming (the fastest of alll the woodpeckers, usually 10-15 strikes per second). Birds climb vertically using stiff tail feathers to prop the body, in search of insects hidden behind bark,which it can prize open with its strong bill.Often hacks at decaying timber whilst seeking food.Less likely to be seen on the ground like Green woodpecker.Easily confused with Syrian Woodpecker (compare below) but shows a definate black band which connects the nape with the moustachial stripe (again clearly visible in this superb photograph).Other diagnostic features which seperate the two species are the Syrian's 'pinkish-red vent and almost no white on the tail feathers.

Current status for Great Spotted Woodpecker (Britain)

This species increased rapidly in the 1970s and began a further increase in the early 1990s. Dutch Elm Disease, which greatly increased the amount of standing dead timber and its associated insects, has been linked to the 1970s increase (Marchant et al. 1990). The ecological factors underlying the current increase are not yet known, but the species may be benefiting from the maturation of new forests and from the increasing provision of winter food in gardens. Brood size appears to be decreasing, but NRS data are sparse for this species.

For a more in depth look at the population trends in the UK ,click here

Wonderful Woodpeckers

Wonderful Woodpeckers

A series of Woodpecker field recordings are now playing on birding-radio.co.uk.To listen click on this link or the picture (right). You can then curse through the radio player listings to select this programme and even use the player as you browse this site or indeed the rest of the Internet.Also check out our podcasts page (access from the home page).If you have an aggregator (podcatcher) you can receive free programmes and bird recordings.

Woodpeckers of EuropeWoodpeckers of Europe
A personal and well researched account of the European Picidae through the author's lifetime study of these fascinating birds. The book covers all aspects of the natural history of the ten species including evolution, taxonomy, topography, flight patterns and drumming. There are full detailed accounts of each species. Other chapters deal with their country status, forestry, their relationship with man and other fauna, and field observation.
Illustrated with ten colour plates and with over 70 original drawings by the prize-winning artist Szabolcs Kokay.



To see more details of this and other woodpecker titles, click here

The Birder's Market | Resource | Birds of Britain and Europe ID Guide | Woodpeckers | Great Spotted Woodpecker Dendrocopos major |  Identification of Great spotted Woodpecker

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