Eurasian three-toed woodpecker

Eurasian three-toed woodpecker
Picoides tridactylus

Photo by Johan Stenlund (PBase)

Common name:
Eurasian three-toed woodpecker (en); pica-pau-tridáctilo (pt); pic tridactyle (fr); pico tridáctilo euroasiático (es); dreizehenspecht (de)

Order Piciformes
Family Picidae

This species is patchily distributed in central and eastern Europe, with population in Switzerland and Austria, Romania, the Ukraine and Greece, and from Scandinavia and Belarus, through most of Russia and into Kazakhstan, Mongolia, central and northern China and northern Japan.

These birds are 20-24 cm long and have a wingspan of 32-35 cm. They weigh 60-85 g.

The three-toed woodpecker is mainly found in mature coniferous forests, especially spruce, ocurring both in taiga at higher latitudes, where they prefer damp or swampy areas with much dead wood, and in sub-alpine forests at lower altitudes. They are present at altitudes of 650-4.000 m.

They feed on the larvae of tree-dwelling insects, spiders, some berries, and bark cambium.

Three-toed woodpeckers are monogamous and breed in April-July. The male excavates a hole in a dead or dying tree, where the female lays 3-6 white eggs. The eggs are incubated by both parents for 12-15 days. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge 22-25 days after hatching. Each pair raises a single brood per year and they young reach sexual maturity after the first year.

IUCN status – LC (Least Concern)
This species has an extremely large breeding range and a global population estimated at 5-50 million individuals. Although declines occurred in parts of its European range from since the 1970s, it has been stable across much of its European range since the 1990s.

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