Green Woodpecker - Picus viridis


    The Green Woodpecker is the largest of the three woodpeckers that breed in Britain. It has a heavy-looking body, short tail and a strong, long bill. It is greeny-grey on its upper parts with a bright green rump and red on the top of its head. They have an undulating flight. They climb up tree trunks and branches and will move around to be on the side away from anyone watching.

    Identification difficulty

    Mainly a lowland species that breeds in open deciduous woodland, parks, orchards and farmland in England, Wales and Scotland, although absent from the far north, the west and Northern Ireland. Not totally arboreal and will be seen feeding on heaths, downland, pasture and lawns.

    When to see it

    All year round

    Life History

    The Green Woodpecker spends much of its time feeding on ants on the ground and does not often 'drum' on trees like other woodpecker species. It is a shy bird but usually draws attention with its loud calls. A nest hole is excavated in a tree; four to six eggs are laid which hatch after 19 or 20 days.

    UK Status

    Fairly common in much of Britain except the extreme north. Absent from Northern Ireland.

    VC55 Status

    A fairly common breeding bird in Leicestershire and Rutland.

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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