Deep Dive: Great Spotted Woodpecker

by OBDK on February 27, 2023

Great Spotted Woodpeckers, or Dendrocopos major, are found mainly in Europe and Asia, and rarely are spotted within the United States.1&2 They like woodland, suburban, and urban habitats, usually with mature trees.1
They stand 8-10 inches tall and weigh between 2 and 3 ounces. They have a wingspan of 16 inches. In the wild, they can live between 5 and 7 years. These birds are white and black, and males stand out from females because they have a red nape.2
These birds eat larvae, insects, fruit, seeds, and eggs.2 They will peck into trees in order to get to the beetle larvae that live within them. Drumming into tree bark isn’t only to find food, though. Males will do it in order to establish their territory.3
When these birds pair up, both males and females will work together to make a cavity nest. The nest can be up to 60 feet high.2 Females will lay 4-6 eggs and they are incubated for two weeks before they hatch.3
These birds face threats from Sparrowhawks and Goshawks.3 When Great Spotted Woodpeckers fly, they have an interesting flight pattern. They will flap their wings quickly and then glide, alternating the two. It makes for a very bouncy looking flight.1&2
Overall, these birds are considered to be of Least Concern.2
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