Great Spotted Woodpecker
The bigger of the two spotted woodpeckers found in Britain and as big as any of the six or so species found in other parts of Europe. This is a tree woodpecker and drums for territorial advertisement but also has a variety of loud - and piecing - cries. All the birds have a bright scarlet patch on the undertail and pied plumage.
The head is the give away for age and sex. Newly fledged juveniles have a red forehead for a few months. Once this has moulted to black then birds with red on the back of the head are males and those with no red females.
British birds number about 30,000 pairs and are fairly sedentary, but Northern European birds sometimes move long distances. The species is found over most of Europe and into Asia through China and to Japan - there is an isolated population in Kamchatka.
A medium sized black, white and red woodpecker from temperate Eurasia.
The following Bird On! picture is available:
Great Spotted Woodpecker (35mm Colour Slide by Roger Tidman)
Length 230 mm Closed wing 140 mm Weight 80 gms
A Bird On! Sketch by Chris Mead
Copyright © 1996 by Jacobi Jayne & Company and Chris Mead