Great Spotted Woodpecker Bird Information & Facts
All of Europe, except Ireland and the most northern areas, provides a home for one of the most abundant of woodpeckers — the great spotted woodpecker.
Length: 23 cm. The male has a red patch on the nape.
Voice: A loud ‘kik’ or ‘chick’. In spring it drums with its beak on the trunks or branches of trees.
Size of Egg: 20.0—29.5 X 15.4—21.8 mm.
Great Spotted Woodpecker (Denrocopos major) Habitat
It stays for the winter in most areas, though it is also a transient migrant out of the breeding season, but inhabitants of northern Europe sometimes journey south in large flocks. Why they undertake such a long trip is as yet not understood. The great spotted woodpecker occurs in woodlands of all types, in the mountains up to the tree line, but is also found in large numbers in parks and large gardens, orchards and tree avenues.
In the winter it often roams the countryside in the company of nuthatches and tits, and will visit a garden feeding tray to nibble sunflower seeds or suet. In spring both partners, though mainly the male, drill a hole about 30 centimetres deep in the trunk of a deciduous or coniferous tree, often using the same cavity for several years.
The female great spotted woodpecker lays 5 to 6 eggs, which she and the male take turns incubating for 12 to 13 days. The parents feed the young from the beak, and consequently must bring food to the nest much more often than the green or black woodpecker. At first, they make about 40 trips a day, but when the young are some 10 days old the daily trips can total 150 or more. For this reason, the prey must be hunted in the immediate neighborhood of the nest.
The diet consists mainly of insects and their larvae. At the age of 21 to 23 days the young abandon the cavity but remain in the vicinity of the nest. Adult birds also feed on various seeds and grain.