Woodpecker - Forest Bird


No forest can do without this bird. The loud and rhythmic sounds of the woodpecker's fractions are distributed throughout the district, especially in the spring. If you look closely at the trees, you can see it. This bird is not shy and sometimes flies to "make noise" in the gardens, on the trees under the windows or telegraph poles. She is very remarkable and bright, it is impossible to confuse her with anyone else. But the types of woodpeckers can not be discerned at first sight. The great spotted woodpecker is especially common in our country. Let us dwell on it in more detail.

Great Spotted Woodpecker: description

The fact that this bird is generally difficult to confuse with someone is primarily due to its specific appearance and method of obtaining food. The great spotted woodpecker is often compared in size with a thrush, they are about the same. The length of his body varies on average from 22 to 27 centimeters, females are, as a rule, smaller than males. The weight of the bird is small - only 60-100 grams. It was not for nothing that the Great Spotted Woodpecker received such a name, as it has a very bright, contrasting color of the plumage in black and white and a red (and sometimes pink) undertail.

The male from the female can be distinguished by the color of the neck. All young individuals have a red cap on their head, with age it disappears. The red spot on the nape remains only in males. The top of the head becomes black. Bird cheeks, forehead, belly - white, depending on the habitat can vary their shade from bright and clear to beige or almost brown. Great Spotted Woodpecker has a very decent wingspan, reaching almost half a meter (42-47 centimeters). It is also worth noting the shape of the tail. It is pointed (wedge-shaped), has an average length, very hard, since it plays the role of a support when the bird moves along the tree. The structure of the paw, typical for woodpeckers, is zygodactyl, that is, two front pins are contrasted with two rear pins. The average lifespan of a bird is about 9 years.

Great Spotted Woodpecker: habitat

This is a very common bird that has a wide habitat - from the Canary Islands to Kamchatka and Japan. Most often, the birds are sedentary, less often - wandering. The latter is mainly associated with habitats that are unfavorable from the point of view of food supply, therefore the birds are forced to make migrations (invasions) to neighboring regions. The Great Spotted Woodpecker (photo can be seen in the article) is very undemanding to the place of residence and takes root almost everywhere where trees grow - from taiga forests to city parks. Surprisingly, the choice depends not only on the country in which the birds live, but even on the regions. Thus, in Siberia and in the Urals, a woodpecker chooses coniferous forests and mixed forests, but with a predominance of pines, and in the north-west of the country prefers pine forests, spruce forests.

What does a woodpecker eat in summer?

Many more from school remember the so-called nurses forest. These include the wolf and the woodpecker. The bird prefers to settle in the forests, where there are many old and rotten trees. Woodpeckers have a very varied diet. The predominance of plant or animal food in it depends on the season. It is noteworthy that males and females get food in various territories, and sometimes even in separate forests. The spring-summer diet consists mainly of insects and their larvae. First of all, of course, various beetles, including those that feed on wood, as well as their larvae: barbel, bark beetle, stag beetle, weevils, ladybugs, and zlatki. The Great Spotted Woodpecker makes 130 beats per minute with his beak. This is quite a powerful force, not a single bug or worm will go unnoticed. Also in the diet of the bird includes butterflies, including furry, their caterpillars, aphids, ants. The Great Spotted Woodpecker does not disdain even carrion if such an opportunity arises. It was also found that sometimes these birds ruin the nests of small songbirds.

What do woodpeckers eat in autumn and winter?

In the autumn-winter period, vegetable-rich food predominates. It includes the seeds of conifers, acorns, nuts. Of interest is the method of obtaining seeds from cones. It is characteristic of all woodpeckers, but this species has brought it to perfection. Initially, a woodpecker tears a cone, then carries it in its beak to a pre-selected place — the anvil, which, in essence, is a clamp or a slot in the upper part of the tree trunk. The bird beats the lump with all its force, and then proceeds to the meal - pecking scales, extracts the seeds. One great spotted woodpecker can make for itself about 50 such anvils, but uses, as a rule, two or three. Therefore, at the end of winter, a whole hill of cones and scales can accumulate under one tree.

When is the woodpecker's mating season?

Monogamy is characteristic of these birds. They reach sexual maturity by the end of their first year of life. It is noteworthy that couples can stay together until the end of the mating season until next spring. Either they break up and winter separately, but the next year they reunite again.

The behavior of birds during the mating season is very remarkable. Its first signs appear in the end of February - the beginning of March and continue along the rise until the middle of the first spring month. Birds start choosing a pair. Males are extremely noisy, talk loudly and scream aggressively. Females respond to them, but less noticeably. Around the middle of May, when the couples have already decided, the construction of nests begins.

Nesting woodpeckers

The tree in which the hollow will be located is chosen by the male. It should not be rotten, but with soft wood (for example, aspen or alder, rarely oak or birch, larch).

The Great Spotted Woodpecker (photo above), living in rare-leaved forests, prefers to make a new hollow every year. If the place of its habitat - thick hvoyniki, the bird returns to the old. The hollow, as a rule, is located at a height of up to eight meters and has a depth of about 25-35 cm, and the diameter is about 10. The male is mainly engaged in construction, and the female only occasionally replaces it, in time it takes up to two weeks. Woodpeckers lay eggs in mid-spring, around the end of April. In the clutch there are from 5 to 7 small eggs of white color, glossy. Both parents take part in incubation, but at night - only the male. Nestlings hatch naked, helpless and blind for 10-12 days.

Small and Great Spotted Woodpecker: Differences

  • By the nature of color plumage. In a small species, the transverse strip of black on the cheek does not reach the occiput and is interrupted by a white spot. In addition, it does not have a pink or reddish undertail. But on the head of a small woodpecker there is a cap - red with a black border for males and white for females.
  • The Great Spotted Woodpecker and the Little Spotted Woodpecker are different. by the nature of the sounds being made. In the first type, the fraction is very short and lasts about 0.6 seconds, includes 12-13 beats, but it is almost impossible to distinguish them, since they merge into one continuous sound. In addition, it quickly loses its sonority, starts loudly, but quickly fades. The Great Spotted Woodpecker makes 130 beats per minute, his shot is sometimes heard at a distance of up to one and a half kilometers. Sounds made by the little woodpecker are more like the voice of songbirds, they are more protracted. And the fraction from him is also longer, but not as sonorous as that of the first type, lasts on average 1.5 seconds.
  • Little Spotted Woodpecker slightly smaller in sizeIts length is about 14-15 centimeters.
  • Distinguished by preferences for the choice of habitat. The Lesser Spotted Woodpecker prefers deciduous and mixed forests, shores of ponds, and swamps. Tries to avoid dark conifers.

Does the woodpecker have enemies?

It would seem that such a bird in principle can not have enemies, because, having a powerful beak, he may well stand up for himself. But in reality it is a little different. Although there is little information about attacks on woodpeckers of birds of prey, they are still there. Basically they are endangered by sparrows, goshawks, on flat terrain - a peregrine falcon.

Of terrestrial predators, marten and ermine are worth noting. Even the woodpecker's nests, which seem to be hidden and protected, are sometimes devastated by squirrels, sony polchka and red-haired women (a kind of bat). It happens that woodpeckers are forced out of the old hollows by starlings.

Adaptability of the woodpecker to environmental conditions

Almost all animals and birds have a certain set of characteristics that have arisen as a result of adaptation to the factors of the external world. No exception and the great spotted woodpecker. Traits of adaptability to the habitat are listed below.

  • Tenacious claws on their paws make it easy to hold onto a tree trunk or on thin branches.
  • The wedge-shaped hard tail prevents it from sliding down the trunk, it is more suitable for climbing trees than for flying.
  • A long strong beak helps to punch the bark of trees and make hollows in them for nesting, as well as to get food.
  • A long, thin and sticky tongue helps to get insects from the most inaccessible places.

What are woodpeckers

This bird belongs to the Dyat-shaped family, which includes more than two hundred species. Their greatest diversity is observed in the forests of North America. And in our country there are a little more than ten species of woodpeckers. The most famous of them are:

  • Great Spotted Woodpecker. This bird is quite large, the wingspan sometimes reaches half a meter. Most common in European forests.
  • A small spotted woodpecker almost the size of a sparrow looks like it.
  • Another large species often found in our forests is desirable, or the black woodpecker. This bird is quite noisy and active, gouges large hollows and eats a lot of harmful insects.
  • The green woodpecker looks quite unusual and beautiful. But he is very careful, therefore it is difficult to see him.
  • The three-toed woodpecker is an unusual bird, as it lacks one toe.
  • The topcoat is also attributed to this family, although it is very different from other woodpeckers by its behavior and appearance. She does not hollow and does not know how to climb trees.

Where do woodpeckers live

This forest bird is found wherever there are trees. Most species live in forests and prefer solitude. But some may live near the person, for example, in city parks and squares. The only condition for the normal life of a woodpecker is the presence of trees, so it can be found almost anywhere in the world. They are not only in the Circumpolar and on the islands near Australia. The woodpecker is a sedentary bird. He rarely flies far from the place of residence. Usually the area where the bird feeds is about 2 hectares. Very rarely, in search of food, individuals can move over long distances, but in this case they do not return back. This feature of them is the answer to the question of whether the woodpecker is a migratory bird or not. Most of them are omnivores and easily tolerate frost. Therefore, it makes no sense to fly away.

Woodpecker's lifestyle

It is very interesting to observe how various birds of the forest behave. Woodpecker quite unpretentious, he was not accustomed to sit idle. For normal life, this bird is enough to have trees. The most favorable conditions for their reproduction exist near rivers and other bodies of water, especially in rainy summer. At this time, the wood is subjected to various putrefactive processes and fungal diseases, as well as insect attacks. It is these trees and loves the woodpecker. This bird hollows them not only in search of food, it prepares a new hollow for itself every year. True, not all types of woodpeckers can do this. For example, wormholes use ready-made hollows. The peculiarity of woodpeckers' lifestyle is their amazing ability to quickly climb a tree trunk. Nature has endowed them for these purposes with short paws with tenacious fingers and a strong tail. Even woodpecker chicks start climbing up the trunk before they fly. The way of life of this bird does not change even in winter. To answer the question of whether a woodpecker is a migratory bird or not, you just need to go to a forest or park on a quiet frosty day. Frequent fractional knocking, carried in the air, is evidence that these birds remain in our area to winter.

What is interesting woodpecker

  • This is the only bird that has a musical ear. Woodpeckers can knock on wood, not only for the purpose of obtaining food or making nests. Sometimes you can watch a bird hammering on a dry branch and listening.

  • Surprisingly at a woodpecker language. In some individuals it can reach a length of 10 centimeters. It is sticky, with sharp notches on which, like on hooks, a woodpecker fastens insects from under the bark of a tree. With it, he can also feast on the fruits.
  • The woodpecker is one of the few birds that cannot walk on the ground. Their legs and tail are adapted only for climbing trees.

So, we have presented a description of the bird. Woodpecker is very beautiful. Bright red cap and colorful color make these birds adorn any forest.

What are the benefits of woodpeckers

These birds were previously considered pests of the forest, they even tried to exterminate them. But then it turned out that woodpeckers only beat sick and old trees infected with insects. This way they save the forest from the spread of pests. In addition, woodpeckers each year make a new hollow. And in their old homes dwell squirrels other birds.

Woodpeckers help forest dwellers not only by providing shelter. Some species of these birds, when foraging for food, remove entire patches of bark from trees, thus exposing the insect passages. And other birds so much easier to get them. And now the woodpecker is considered one of the most useful forest birds.

What does a woodpecker look like

In nature, there are about 20 species of woodpeckers. They live in the forest zone of North America, North Africa and Eurasia. They are small and medium-sized, the structure of all about the same. The most common and famous species is the great spotted woodpecker. The bird is quite large. The body is up to 27 cm long, and the wingspan is up to 50. The weight is small, about 100 g.

Red Headed Woodpecker (Campephilus robustus)

It got its name due to the motley color of feathers. Brown and white, white, gray, black with blue or greenish tint are the primary colors. There are on the body and all shades of brown. Bright red or pink spots on the back of the head of the male and like a cap, crowning the crown give the woodpecker a nice look.

Listen to the voice of the woodpecker

The same red spots are in the undertail. In general, in different species of woodpeckers, the arrangement of stripes and spots of black and white forms a peculiar rhythmic pattern.

The white woodpecker (Melanerpes candidus), originally from the Andes, has an atypical color for these birds without mottled

Why woodpeckers are called forest doctor

Woodpeckers live where there are trees: in the northern taiga, and in city parks. Types of trees do not matter, it can live in coniferous, deciduous and mixed forests.

The bird is sedentary, lives in the same place for a long time. They migrate to another only if there is a crop failure, and they do not return to their native places. In this regard, woodpeckers can become very small, and it will take a long time until the number is restored.

Golden Woodpecker (Colaptes auratus)

Breeding woodpeckers

In the mating season, the male and female begin to hammer a nest. They will find old aspen and 2 weeks of work, make a recess. Sawdust pick up, and they line the hollow inside. By early May, the female lays up to 8 eggs. Newly hatched chicks have no plumage; they do not see or hear.

A pair of acorn or woodpeckers (Melanerpes formicivorus) are working on a storeroom. The male has a red cap on her head, the female has a completely black head

Chicks are the same screamers, like parents. If fed, pretty goo. Hungry - gnash. If you walk up to the tree and knock on the trunk with a stick, the chicks will loudly squeal.

On day 10, they are already climbing the walls of the hollow, and they start flying out by about day 23.

The enemies of woodpeckers are birds of prey, squirrels, ermines, martens. Man is not particularly afraid. Seeing him, the woodpecker just moves to another part of the trunk, continues to knock there and looks out on the spot - whether the man is gone.

The male woodpecker equipped the hollow in the birch, the female flew in to inspect it. Woodpeckers do most of the work on the nest arrangement

Distant rattling of a woodpecker in the forest is a good sign. This means that the forest doctor is on duty and is performing his important task of forest conservation.

Cactus woodpecker hollows a hollow in the trunk of a cereus

Description of variegated woodpecker

A distinctive feature of the variegated woodpecker is its coloring.. Young birds, regardless of gender, have a very characteristic "red cap" in the parietal region. Fourteen subspecies are counted among the Great Spotted Woodpecker species:

  • D.m. Major,
  • D.m. Bréviróstris,
  • D.m. Kamtschathisus,
  • D.m. Rinetrum,
  • D.m. Hisranus
  • D.m. harkerti arrigoni,
  • D.m. Sanariusis,
  • D.m. thannéri le roi,
  • D.m. Mauritanus,
  • D.m. Numidus,
  • D.m. Rojlzami,
  • D.m. Jarónís,
  • D.m. Sabnisi,
  • D.m. Strеsеmаnni.

В целом, подвидовая систематика большого пестрого дятла на сегодняшний день разработана ещё недостаточно хорошо, поэтому разными авторами выделяется от четырнадцати до двадцати шести географических рас.


Размерами пёстрый дятел напоминает дрозда. Длина взрослой птицы данного вида варьирует в пределах 22-27 см, при размахе крыльев 42-47 см и массе 60-100 г. The color of the bird is characterized by the predominance of white and black colors, which are well combined with bright red or pinkish coloring of the undertail. All subspecies have a motley appearance. The upper part of the head, as well as the area of ​​the back and uppertail, have black plumage with a bluish shine.

The frontal area, cheeks, belly and shoulders are brownish-white in color.. In the shoulder area there are fairly large white fields with a black dorsal stripe between them. Fly feathers are black, with white broad spots, due to which five light transverse stripes form on folded wings. The tail is black, with the exception of a pair of extreme white tail feathers. The iris of a bird is brown or red, and the beak has a noticeable lead-black color. At the base of the beak, a pronounced black stripe begins, which stretches to the sidewall of the neck and neck. A black stripe borders the white cheek.

Males are distinguished from females by the presence of a red transverse strip on the back of the head. For juveniles, there is a red crown with red-black longitudinal strokes. Otherwise, young woodpeckers have no significant differences in the color of their plumage. The tail part is medium in length, pointed and very rigid. Woodpeckers fly very well and fairly quickly, but in most cases prefer climbing on tree trunks. Spotted woodpeckers use their wings only for flying from one plant to another.

Lifestyle and behavior

Great spotted woodpeckers are noticeable and rather noisy birds, often inhabiting the plots near a person’s dwelling. Most often, such birds lead a solitary lifestyle, and the mass accumulation of woodpeckers is characteristic of the invasion of a nominative subspecies. Sedentary adults have an individual forage area. The size of the forage area can vary from two to twenty hectares, which depends on the typical features of the forest zone and the number of conifers.

It is interesting! Before entering into a fight with an outsider in his own feeding area, the owner takes the so-called confrontational pose, in which the bird opens its beak, and the feathering on the head acquires a disheveled appearance.

Same-sex individuals during the period of active breeding can fly into neighboring areas, which is accompanied by conflicts between birds. The appearance of strangers provokes fights, in which birds strike each other with tangible blows with their beaks and wings. The approach of people does not always frighten the woodpecker, so the bird can simply climb along the stem closer to the top or fly over to the upstream branch.

How many motley woodpeckers live

According to official data and observations, the average life expectancy of great spotted woodpeckers in the wild does not exceed ten years. The maximum known life span of a woodpecker was twelve years and eight months.


The area of ​​distribution of the variegated woodpecker covers a significant part of the Palearctic. Birds of this species are found in Africa, Europe, the southern part of the Balkans and in Asia Minor, as well as on the islands of the Mediterranean and in Scandinavia. A large population lives on Sakhalin, the southern Kuril and Japanese islands.

The spotted woodpecker belongs to the category of extremely plastic species, therefore it can easily adapt to any types of biotopes with trees, including small wooded islets, gardens and parks. Poultry density varies:

  • in the territory of North Africa, the bird prefers olive and poplar groves, pine forests, pine forests, deciduous and mixed forests with cork oak,
  • in Poland most often inhabits alder-ash and oak-hornbeam groves, parks and forest-park zones with a large number of old trees,
  • In the northwestern part of our country, the spotted woodpecker is numerous in various forest zones, including dry burs, bogged spruce forests, coniferous, mixed and deciduous forests,
  • on the territory of the Urals and in Siberia, preference is given to mixed forests and conifers with a predominance of pine,
  • in the territory of the Far East, birds of this species prefer foothill and mountain deciduous and cedar-deciduous forests,
  • In Japan, spotted woodpeckers inhabit deciduous, coniferous and mixed forests.

It is interesting! As shown by long-term observations, young birds are most prone to movement, and old woodpeckers rarely leave their inhabited nesting sites.

The total number of spotted woodpeckers within a biotope can be reduced several times, and the process of restoring a population takes several years.

The diet of great variegated woodpeckers

The food supply of the spotted woodpecker is very diverse, and the bias towards the predominance of food of plant or animal origin directly depends on the season.

The males and females feed on different types of territories. In the spring and summer period, variegated woodpeckers eat very large numbers of various insects, as well as their larvae, represented by:

  • barbel
  • zlatkami
  • bark beetles
  • stag beetles
  • leaf beetles,
  • ladybugs,
  • weevils,
  • ground beetles
  • tracks,
  • imago of butterflies
  • horntails
  • aphids
  • coccides,
  • ants.

Occasionally, woodpeckers eat crustaceans and mollusks. With the onset of late autumn, birds of this species can be found near people's housing, where birds eat food in feeders or, in some cases, feed on carrion. The destruction by woodpeckers of the nests of songbirds, including pied flycatchers, redstart, tit and finches, Slavok, is also noted.

Forage is harvested on the trunk of trees and on the surface of the soil.. When insects are detected, the bird destroys the bark through strong beak blows or easily makes a deep funnel, after which the prey is extracted with the tongue. Representatives of the family Woodpeckers, as a rule, hollow only the wood of sick and dried trees affected by pests. In the spring, birds feed on land insects, ravaging anthills, and also use fallen fruits or carrion for food.

In the autumn-winter period, feed of plant origin, rich in proteins, including the seeds of various conifers, acorns and nuts, prevail in the woodpecker's diet. For a bird of this species, the characteristic way of harvesting nutritious seeds from pine and spruce cones is to use a kind of “forge”. A woodpecker breaks a lump off a branch, after which it falls in its beak and is clamped inside an anvil prepared in advance, for which natural gaps or self-hollow holes in the upper stem part are used. Then the bird gives a strong blow with its beak to the lump, and then the scales are pinch off and the seeds are extracted.

It is interesting! In the early spring, when the number of insects is extremely limited, and the edible seeds are completely over, the woodpeckers break through the bark on deciduous trees and drink juice.

On the territory occupied by one variegated woodpecker, a little more than fifty such special “anvils” can be placed, but more often than not four of them are used by the bird. By the end of the winter period, a whole mountain of broken cones and scales usually accumulates under the tree.

Also, birds eat seeds and nuts of plants such as hazel, beech and oak, hornbeam and almonds. When necessary, spotted woodpeckers feed on delicate aspen bark and pine buds, gooseberry and currant pulp, cherries and plums, juniper and raspberries, buckthorn and ash.

Natural enemies

To date, there are quite scant information indicating the attack on the variegated woodpecker predatory animals in temperate latitudes. It is well known cases when woodpeckers are attacked by feathered predators, represented by quails and goshawks. Among the ground natural enemies include pine marten and, possibly, ermine.

Outside a wooded area, peregrine falcons are a danger to the Great Spotted Woodpecker.. Earlier data were received, which reported the almost complete destruction of the woodpecker population by peregrine falcons in the territory of the tundra of Yamal. Bird nests are ruined by an ordinary squirrel and dormouse, and the red evening party is one of the potentially dangerous for colorful woodpeckers.

A bird can be forced out of a hollow prepared to create a nest even by an ordinary starling. In the nests of the great spotted woodpecker, some blood-sucking insects are found, including the fleas Serathorhyllus gallinae, Lycostosris Crestrestros, Etotobrija marginata and irotobrijaa nivalis, and the fur lice Meurophorophobria 16% of the 16th century, and the Echotobrija nivalis, of the lupus of the number of the Nest chicks often suffer from the attack of midges and midges. Cavity mites Sternostostom hylandi were found in some areas of the woodpecker's mouth.

Reproduction and offspring

Traditionally, the spotted woodpecker is a monogamous bird, but in Japan there are known cases of polyandry. A significant part of the birds begins to breed at the age of one year, and some of the created pairs, even after the breeding season, remain together until the next spring. The timing of nesting between the southern and northern populations is not too different. The increase in marital activity persists until mid-March, and in the middle of May pair formation ends, so the birds begin building a nest in the hollow, which is located, as a rule, at a height of no more than eight meters.

It is interesting! At the end of April or in the first decade of May, the female of the variegated woodpecker puts off from four to eight brilliant eggs of white color. The hatching is carried out by the female and the male for twelve days, and then blind and naked, completely helpless chicks are born.

At the age of ten days, the chicks are able to climb to the entrance, using heel corns as a support.. Both parents feed up chicks. In the nest the chicks are up to the age of three weeks, after which the flight training takes place, during which part of the brood follows the female, and the other follows the male. Chicks who have learned to fly for ten days are fed by their parents, after which the birds acquire complete independence.