Saturday, 14 March 2015

Day 133 - Wonderful Woodpeckers

Great Spotted Woodpecker (Dendrocopos major)
Hi all today's Day 133 and me and my parents were out walking at Ripon along a lovely riverside path which we love to go to.  We heard a Woodpecker in the woods on the other side of the river. We didn't manage to see it so we carried on walking for about 2 and a half hours. But when we came back we heard the Woodpecker again, and this time, we saw it! We got a few great photos and came back home to research these beautiful birds some more:

So here are the facts:
  • Even though there are only 140,000 breeding pairs in the UK, they are a Green Status bird in the UK.
  • This is because they haven't had any declines recently and there are quite a lot in all of Europe which is another key factor.
They were busy looking for bugs to eat
  • They are quite big being 22cm in length and having a 36cm wingspan. Both male and female birds weigh 85g.
  • You can tell male and females apart because only the males have the patch of red at the back of their necks.
  • As most people know, Woodpeckers, well, peck wood. They do this to make their nests but it isn't easy. They need from 10 to 45 hits per second! Woodpeckers are much easier to hear than to see - it`s lovely to hear their drumming noise in the woods! Lucky for the Woodpecker they have shock-absorbent tissue between their bill and skull to absorb the impact of the drumming!
  • They are found in all of the UK except from Northern Scotland, the Isle of Man and all of Ireland where they are not found at all.
  • They are found in all habitats including Reed beds and Bogs but they are not as common here. They are most common in Broad-leaf Woodlands.
  • The eat insects that they prise out of branches, along with seeds and nuts.
  • Most Woodpeckers have special toes that face forwards and backwards, called zygodacyl feet, which help them grip onto bark.
  • Their typical lifespan of a Woodpecker is around 2 years but the oldest ever recorded was 10 years 10 months and 24 days.
  • There are only two species of Spotted Woodpecker in the UK - the Great and the Lesser.  The Lesser is much smaller than the Great, and doesn't have red on its belly like the Great.
A gorgeous bird that I always love to see and hear.  Here are some links to some more information:



  1. Lovely! I've only seen one twice in real life but I often hear them pecking away in the morning, if I'm lucky. They're such gorgeous birds. - Tasha

    1. I hear far more than I see - would love to see a lesser spotted too :-)