Animals / Birds

Great spotted woodpecker


Большо́й пёстрый дя́тел, или пёстрый дя́тел (ру.)

Buntspecht (de.)

Pico picapinos (es.)


Order — Piciformes.

Family — Picidae.

Subfamily — Picinae.

Genus — Dendrocopos.

Species — Dendrocopos major.


Great Spotted Woodpecker lives in forests and woodlands of all types, hedgerows trees, orchards, parks and large gardens, from arctic taiga to Mediterranean areas.

Great Spotted Woodpecker lives from Northern Eurasia to Middle-East, Canary Islands and Northern Africa. It is sedentary and resident in its range. Some northern populations can migrate southwards in winter, according to the food resources.

Внешний вид

Length: 22-23 cm.

Wingspan: 34-39 cm.

Weight: 70-90 g.

Wings are  black, barred with white.

Tail is black, edged with white spots. As with other woodpeckers, the stiff tail feathers are used as a prop when it is clinging to a tree, and its toes are specially arranged with two pointing forwards and two backwards.

Off-white underparts.

Head is black and white: black crown and nape, white forehead, cheeks and throat.

Nape with red patch (only male).

Cap is black, with red rectangle on nape.

Undertail is bright crimson.

Their flight is very undulating as they completely fold their wings against the body between each series of several flaps.


Body plumage similar to adult but with less strongly marked facial pattern, paler undertail colour.

Has bright red cap, which may lead to confusion with the much smaller Lesser Spotted Woodpecker.

Undertail paler red.


Woodpeckers probe tree trunks for insects and larvae, but also feed on nuts and berries (in the winter). They grip the bark with their strong claws and, when probing the crevices or drilling holes, use their stiff tail feathers as a prop. In the summer, they will take bird eggs and nestlings from nests (including those in nest boxes, in to which they gain entry by increasing the size of the hole).

The woodpecker's tongue is extremely long and sticky for extracting insects, such as ants, from their nest chambers and crevices. The tongue is so long that its muscles wrap around the rear of the skull and back to the upper mandible.

Increasingly, Great Spotted Woodpeckers are feeding from peanut and suet feeders in gardens.


Psittacosis, Pseudomonosis, Salmonellosis, Sinus infection, Hystrichosis, Cheilospirurosis, Duodenitis, Bronchitis.


Great Spotted Woodpecker nests in holes. Both adults excavate this hole, in March and April. They use a new nest each year, and they excavate the hole during one or two weeks, according to the hardness of the wood. The chamber of the nest is about 30 cm deep, and the entrance is oval-shaped, at about 4 metres above the ground. The chamber is lined with wood chips.

Female lays 4 to 7 white eggs, between mid-May and early June. Incubation lasts about 16 days, by female during the day, and by male at night. Chicks hatch altricial, and both parents feed them. They fledge at about 18 to 21 days of age. They reach their sexual maturity at one year.

Adults keep the nest clean, removing the chick’s droppings. Young are very noisy. Adults remain in nearly area while chicks are in the nest.  
This species produces only one brood per year.

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