Black Woodpecker (Dryocopus martius)
Black Woodpecker Information & Facts
Early in spring, often as early as March, woodlands with old pine trees or beeches echo to the loud drumming sound of the black woodpecker, perched on the stump of a branch which he strikes repeatedly with his beak as he courts a partner.
Length: 45 cm. The male has a red patch on the forehead.
Voice: A long drawn-out ‘kleea’, a high, grating ‘krri-krri-krri’, and a ringmg ‘choc-choc-choc’ flight song.
Size of Egg: 31.0—37.7 X 22.0-—27.0 mm.
Black Woodpecker Habitat
In the middle of April, both partners drill a nesting cavity in a tree trunk, which is usually 35 to 55 centimetres deep, though sometimes it can be as much as one metre, depending on the hardness of the wood. The black woodpecker usually selects the trunk of a pine or beech, the task taking some 10 to 15 days with the male doing most of the work.
The litter of large wood chips at the base of die tree reveals the presence of its home, and the black woodpecker also excavates cavities in other trees in the vicinity, which he uses as sleeping quarters, all having an oval entrance hole.
The 4 to 5 eggs are incubated by both partners for 12 to 13 days, the male black woodpecker sitting on them mainly at night. The young, which remain in the cavity for 23 to 28 days, are fed by both parents, primarily on ants and their pupae. They are fed only a few times each day, but in large quantities. Adult birds feed on the larvae of weevils and bark beetles.
When the young have fledged the parents remain in the neighborhood, whereas their off-spring wander as far as several hundred kilometres from the nest. The woodpecker is widespread in central, northern and eastern Europe and may be found in both mountain areas and lowland country.