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Great spotted woodpecker

Dendrocopos major

Photo by Thomas Hochebner (Woodpeckers of the World)

Common name:
great spotted woodpecker (en); pica-pau-malhado-grande (pt); pic épeiche (fr); pico picapinos (es); buntspecht (de)

Order Piciformes
Family Picidae

This species is found throughout Europe, with the exceptions of Iceland, Ireland, and northern Scandinavia, in Morocco and Algeria, and through Russia and the Caucasus all the way to southern and eastern China, Korea and Japan.

These birds are 20-26 cm long and have a wingspan of 38-44 cm. They weigh 70-100 g.

The great spotted woodpecker is mostly found in broad-leaved and coniferous forests, in boreal, temperate and tropical areas, but also in rural gardens, plantations and within urban areas. They are present from sea level up to an altitude of 2.500 m.

They feed on seeds and nuts, invertebrates such as beetles and insect larvae, and also bird eggs and nestlings.

Great spotted woodpeckers breed in April-July. They nest in holes in trees, excavated by both sexes. It is placed on the trunk of a tree, about 4 m above the ground. The female lays 4-7 white eggs, which are incubated by both sexes for about 16 days. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge 18-21 days after hatching. Each pair raises a single brood per year.

IUCN status – LC (Least Concern)
This species has an extremely large breeding range and a global population estimated at 73,5-216 million individuals. In parts of Europe the population is known to have undergone a moderate increase over the last 3 decades.

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