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Wednesday, 24 July 2019

Great spotted Woodpecker

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. Males and young birds also have red markings on the neck or head. This species is found across Eurasia and parts of North Africa. Across most of its range it is resident, but in the north some will migrate if the conifer cone crop fails. Some individuals have a tendency to wander, leading to the recent recolonisation of Ireland and to vagrancy to North America. Great spotted woodpeckers chisel into trees to find food or excavate nest holes, and also drum for contact and territorial advertisement; they have anatomical adaptations to manage the physical stresses from the hammering action. It is similar to the less common lesser spotted woodpecker.
The great spotted woodpecker occurs in all types of woodlands and is catholic in its diet, being capable of extracting seeds from pine cones, insect larvae from inside trees or eggs and chicks of other birds from their nests. It breeds in holes excavated in living or dead trees, unlined apart from wood chips. The typical clutch is four to six glossy white eggs. Both parents incubate the eggs, feed the chicks and keep the nest clean. When the young fledge they are fed by the adults for about ten days, each parent taking responsibility for feeding part of the brood.
The adult great spotted woodpecker is 20–24 cm (7.9–9.4 in) long, weighs 70–98 g (2.5–3.5 oz) and has a 34–39 cm (13–15 in) wingspan. The upperparts are glossy blue-black, with white on the sides of the face and neck. Black lines run from the shoulder to the nape, the base of the bill and about halfway across the breast. There is a large white shoulder patch and the flight feathers are barred with black and white, as is the tail. The underparts are white other than a scarlet lower belly and undertail. The bill is slate-black, the legs greenish-grey and the eye is deep red. The great spotted woodpecker is mainly resident year-round, but sizeable movements can occur when there are shortages of pineand spruce cones in the north of the range.[10] Highland populations often descend to lower altitudes in winter. Juveniles also have a tendency to wander some distance from where they were hatched, often as far as 100–600 km (60–400 mi), sometimes up to 3,000 km (1,900 mi).The great spotted woodpecker is omnivorous. It digs beetle larvae from trees and also takes many other invertebratesincluding adult beetles, ants and spiders.

 

(latin: Dendrocopos major)

Wednesday, 24 July 2019