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bird Great Spotted Woodpeckers

Identify It >   Birds Section >   Great Spotted Woodpeckers >


Scientific name:  Dendrocopus major

Size:  Approx 25cm

Distribution:  Found in England, Scotland and Wales

Months seen:  All year round

Habitat:  Woodlands, parks and gardens

Food:  Invertebrates, grubs in dead wood, seeds and nuts

Special features:  Great spotted woodpeckers are the UK's most common species of woodpecker.  They're sometimes called 'pied woodpeckers' because of their black and white colouring.

Both the male and female birds have a vivid red patch under the tail, but only the males have a red patch at the back of the neck.  Juvenile birds have a red patch on top of their heads.

In late winter and early spring great spotted woodpeckers are very audible, as the males perform their annual territorial drumming solo.  This is to tell other males to keep out of their patch of the woods.

Great spotted woodpeckers make their nests by chiseling out a hole in a tree trunk with their beaks.  This is also one of the ways in which they find food such as wood-boring grubs.  Their strengthened skulls help to cushion the blows.  The female lays up to seven eggs, which are all white in colour.

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