It is not certain how suitable trees are selected, although it may be by drumming, since woods with differing elastic modulus and density may transmit sound at different speeds. Male has red nape patch; juvenile (both sexes) has red cap. , The pair excavate a new hole at least 0.3 m (1 ft) above the ground and usually lower than 8 m (26 ft), although sometimes much higher. Great colorful woodpeckers fly very well and climb trees. https://www.bto.org/.../videos/bto-bird-id-great-lesser-spotted-woodpeckers This woodpecker occurs in all types of woodlands and eats a variety of foods, being capable of extracting seeds from pine cones, insect larvae from inside trees or eggs and chicks of other birds from their nests.  The outer layer of the upper mandible is significantly longer than the more rigid lower mandible and absorbs much of the concussive force. Free, global bird ID and field guide app powered by your sightings and media.  House martin colonies can be destroyed in repeated visits. The Mongolian oak and prickly castor-oil tree were rarely if ever used. This species is found across the Palearctic including parts of North Africa. Males and young birds also have red markings on the neck or head. Note big white shoulder patches, extensive red on vent, black crown. It nests in holes that it excavates in trees in broadleaved woodlands, large parks and gardens. (Browse free accounts on the home page.). The largest of the five tribes within the Picinae is Melanerpini, the pied woodpeckers, a group which includes the great spotted woodpecker. , There is only one brood per year. Other plant items consumed include buds, berries and tree sap, the latter obtained by drilling rings of holes around a tree trunk. Each species account is written by leading ornithologists and provides detailed information on bird distribution, migration, habitat, diet, sounds, behavior, breeding, current population status, and conservation. , Easily accessible items are picked off the tree surface or from fissures in the bark, but larvae are extracted by chiselling holes up to 10 cm (3.9 in) deep and trapping the soft insect with the tongue, which can extend to 40 mm (1.6 in) beyond the bill, and is covered with bristles and sticky saliva to trap the prey. Males have a crimson patch on the nape, which is absent from the otherwise similar females. Vogrin, M., 2002. , Trees chosen for nest holes have soft heartwood and tough sapwood, the former often due to parasites or diseases that weaken the tree's core. Just two species of spotted woodpeckers can be found in the British Isles: the great (not greater) and lesser. , Woodland birds of prey such as the Eurasian sparrowhawk and the northern goshawk hunt the great spotted woodpecker.  They are laid from mid-April to June, the later dates being for birds breeding in the north of the range or at altitude.  The nests of other cavity-nesting birds, such as tits, may be raided for their eggs and chicks; nest boxes may be similarly attacked, holes being pecked to admit entrance by the woodpecker where necessary. The white-winged woodpecker has a far more extensive white wing patch than the great spotted woodpecker. Across most of its range it is resident, but in the north some will migrate if the conifer cone crop fails. Most common pied woodpecker in most of Eurasia. Caspian D. m. poelzami is small, relatively long-billed and has brown underparts. Every bird has a story. D. m. canariensis and D. m. thanneri in the Canary Islands are similar to the Iberian race but have contrasting white flanks. Great spotted woodpeckers chisel into trees to find food or excavate nest holes, and also drum for contact and territorial advertisement; like other woodpeckers, they have anatomical adaptations to manage the physical stresses from the hammering action.  The great spotted woodpecker was also found to have been nesting in the Isle of Man from 2009. The breeding range is estimated as 57.8 millionsquare kilometres (22.3 millionsq mi), and the population is considered overall to be large and apparently stable or slightly increasing, especially in Britain, where the population has recently overspilled into Ireland. Unlock thousands of full-length species accounts and hundreds of bird family overviews when you subscribe to Birds of the World. Across most of its range it is resident, but in the north some will migrate if the conifer cone crop fails. The Great Spotted Woodpecker is a bird that does not leave its habitat, the birds are sedentary, and only the inhabitants of the northern regions during a power outage can change their habitat, moving to warmer and nourishing lands. This moult to near-adult plumage starts from late May to early August and finishes from mid-September to late November, timing varying with latitude as with the adults. For this reason the great spotted woodpecker is evaluated as a species of least concern by the IUCN. major. There is a large white shoulder patch and the flight feathers are barred with black and white, as is the tail. Note big white shoulder patches, extensive red on vent, black crown.  Numbers have increased in Europe due to the planting of forests, which provides breeding habitat, and more available dead wood, and this species has profited from its flexibility with regard to types of woodland and its ability to thrive in proximity to humans. Size and bold black-and-white plumage distinctive in most of range. , The various subspecies differ in plumage, the general pattern being that northern forms are larger, heavier-billed and whiter beneath, as predicted by Bergmann's rule, so north Eurasian D. m. major and D. m. kamtschaticus are large and strikingly white, whereas D. m. hispanicus in Iberia and D. m. harterti in Corsica and Sardinia are somewhat smaller and have darker underparts. , The great spotted woodpecker is omnivorous. International Union for Conservation of Nature, "Tapping the woodpecker tree for evolutionary insight", "The origins of Great Spotted Woodpeckers, "Woodpecker pecking: how woodpeckers avoid brain injury", "Why do woodpeckers resist head impact injury: a biomechanical investigation", "Comparative nesting ecology of the three British breeding woodpeckers", 10.2326/1347-0558(2008)7[59:WHINTO]2.0.CO;2, "How often do great spotted woodpeckers eat other birds' chicks? They will occasionally make a new roosting hole or use an artificial site such as a nest box. It has a distinctive, bouncing flight, but is mostly likely to be heard, rather than seen, as it 'drums' away at a tree trunk during its breeding displays. Hans Winkler, David Christie, and Guy M. Kirwan, Ornithological Society Of The Middle East The Caucasus And Central Asia, RED DE OBSERVADORES DE AVES Y VIDA SILVESTRE DE CHILE. Pairs are monogamous during the breeding period, but often change partners before the next season. , As well as using holes for breeding, great spotted woodpeckers roost at night, and sometimes during the day, in old nest cavities, excavated by other woodpeckers. The bill is slate-black, the legs greenish-grey and the eye is deep red. Discover them all with Birds of the World. He calls in flight and may land at a prospective nest-site. Fairly common in almost all types of forest and woodland, parkland, gardens, even farmland with hedges and scattered larger trees.  The far-carrying drumming is faster than for any other woodpecker in its range at around 10–16 strikes per second, typically in one-second bursts, although repeated frequently. However, mitochondrial DNA data suggests that the Caspian Sea region's Dendrocopus major poelzami, Japanese D. m. japonicus and Chinese D. m. cabanisi may all merit full species status.  It was moved to its current genus, Dendrocopus, by the German naturalist Carl Ludwig Koch in 1816. Black lines run from the shoulder to the nape, the base of the bill and about halfway across the breast. These include the zygodactyl arrangement of the foot, with two toes facing forward and two back, and the stiff tail feathers that are used as a prop against the trunk. It is excavated by both sexes, the male doing most of the chiselling.  Crustaceans, molluscs and carrion may be eaten, and bird feeders are visited for suet and domestic scraps. Protozoans also occur, including the potentially fatal Toxoplasma gondii, which causes toxoplasmosis. The two Chinese forms, D. m. cabanisi and D. m. stresemanni, have brownish heads and underparts, and often some red on the breast.  Its expansion in range is continuing, with breeding proven or suspected in at least 10 counties by 2013, with the main concentration in Down and County Wicklow.  As late as the early twentieth century it was thought that the drumming might be a vocalisation, and it was not until 1943 that it was finally proved to be purely mechanical. Their markings are less well-defined than the adult's and the lower belly is pink rather than red. , Fat-rich plant products such as nuts and conifer seeds are particularly important as winter food in the north of the woodpecker's range, and can then supply more than 30% of the bird's energy requirements. Northern D. m. major starts its moult from mid-June to late July and finishes in October or November, temperate races like D. m. pinetorum are earlier, commencing in early June to mid-July and completing in mid-September to late October, and southern D. m. hispanicus starts late May or June and finishes as early as August.  The Sind woodpecker is very similar to the Syrian species, and can be distinguished from great spotted woodpecker in the same way. This species is similar to the Syrian woodpecker. The crown of the juvenile's head is red, less extensively in young females than males. In Morocco, D. m. mauritanus is pale below with red in the centre of its breast, and birds breeding at higher altitudes are larger and darker than those lower in the hills.  The genus name Dendrocopus is a combination of the Greek words dendron , "tree", and kopos, "striking". The chosen site is normally a tree, alive or dead, occasionally a utility pole or nest box. Take Merlin with you in the field! Fairly common in almost all types of forest and woodland, parkland, gardens, even farmland with hedges and scattered larger trees. It has a huge range and large population, with no widespread threats, so it is classed as a species of least concern by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). The great spotted woodpecker is a medium-sized woodpecker. On the Continent three similar species can also be found: middle spotted, white-backed and Syrian. Each parent then takes responsibility for feeding part of the brood for about ten days, during which time they normally remain close to the nest tree.  The great spotted woodpecker is the favoured host of the tapeworm Anomotaenia brevis. Great spotted woodpeckers’ characteristic drumming noise is a good identification feature and is used, like a bird’s song, to claim their territory. The courtship call, gwig, is mostly given in the display flight. Most common pied woodpecker in most of Eurasia. , The species feeds at all levels of a tree, usually alone, but sometimes as a pair. The great spotted woodpecker (Dendrocopos major) is a medium-sized woodpecker with pied black and white plumage and a red patch on the lower belly. Feeds mainly on trunks and larger branches; also visits feeders. Some individuals have a tendency to wander, leading to the recent recolonisation of Ireland and to vagrancy to North America. Old holes are rarely re-used, although the same tree may be used for nesting for several years. Within the genus Dendrocopus the great spotted woodpecker's closest relatives are the Himalayan, Sind, Syrian, white-winged woodpeckers and the Darjeeling woodpecker.  In the great spotted woodpecker and most of its relatives, the hinge where the front of the skull connects with the upper mandible is folded inwards, tensioned by a muscle that braces it against the shock of the impact when the bill is hammering on hard wood.