Great Spotted Woodpecker

Great Spotted Woodpecker

Scientific name: Dendrocopos major

Did you know: The Great Spotted Woodpecker was reintroduced to Ireland in the early 21st century, marking a significant expansion in its range!

What Do Great Spotted Woodpeckers Look Like? (how to identify them)

Great Spotted Woodpeckers are black and white birds about the size of a blackbird. They are notable for their striking plumage and distinctive red patches. 

These birds have a unique bounce in flight and spend much of their time on the trunks and branches of trees. Their presence is often announced by loud calls or distinctive spring drumming.

Differences Between Male And Female Great Spotted Woodpeckers

Males have a bright red patch on the back of their heads. Females, while similar in black and white markings, lack this red patch. Juveniles can be identified by their red crowns, which become black as they age.

What Do Great Spotted Woodpeckers Eat?

Their diet consists of seeds, nuts, and insects. Great Spotted Woodpeckers are adept at extracting seeds from pine cones and insect larvae from within trees. They are also known to consume eggs and chicks of other birds.

Where Do Great Spotted Woodpeckers Live? (inc. migration info)

Great Spotted Woodpeckers are found across various habitats including woodlands, urban, and suburban areas. They are primarily resident birds but may migrate in northern regions if food sources like conifer cones are scarce.

Bird Calls & Songs (the unique voices of Great Spotted Woodpeckers)

Their calls are sharp and can be heard as a wooden rattling if disturbed. They are also known for their drumming, used for communication and territorial advertisement. 

This drumming is a rapid mechanical sound, created by pecking at trees and structures.

Fun Great Spotted Woodpecker Facts (kid friendly)

  • Great Spotted Woodpeckers can extend their tongues up to 40mm beyond their beaks to catch insects.
  • They use their stiff tail feathers for support while climbing trees.
  • These woodpeckers can hammer into trees without getting a concussion, thanks to special shock-absorbing adaptations.
  • They are known to drum on trees at a remarkable speed of 10-16 strikes per second.
  • Great Spotted Woodpeckers have been recorded living for over 11 years.

Facts About The Great Spotted Woodpecker

Diet: Insects, seeds and nuts.
Bird Family: Woodpeckers
Length: 22-23cm
Wingspan: 34-39cm
Weight: 85g
Scientific Name: Dendrocopos major

The Great Spotted Woodpecker Can Be Seen In The UK During The Following Months

  • January
  • February
  • March
  • April
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • October
  • November
  • December

Great Spotted Woodpecker Images

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Male
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Female
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Hatchling
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Nestling
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Chick
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Fledgling
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Juvenile