Great Spotted Woodpecker - Dendrocopos major


    About Blackbird-sized and striking black-and-white. It has a very distinctive bouncing flight and spends most of its time clinging to tree trunks and branches, often trying to hide on the side away from the observer. Its presence is often announced by its loud call or by its distinctive spring 'drumming' display. The male has a distinctive red patch on the nape which females lack. Juveniles have a red crown.

    Identification difficulty

    Woodlands, especially with mature broad-leaved trees, although mature conifers will support them. Also in parks and large gardens. Will come to peanut feeders and bird tables. Not found in the far north of Scotland. Only a handful of pairs nest in Ireland, but numbers are increasing. Common in England and Wales.

    When to see it

    All year round

    Life History

    The familiar drumming sound is not the bird feeding or excavating a nest hole, but a signal to other woodpeckers. The male will seek out a suitable branch that makes the loudest noise.

    UK Status

    Common and widespread in Britain

    VC55 Status

    Fairly common in Leicestershire and Rutland as a breeding bird.

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    Leicestershire & Rutland Map

    MAP KEY:

    Yellow squares = NBN records (all known data)
    Coloured circles = NatureSpot records: 2020+ | 2015-2019 | pre-2015

    UK Map