European birds    Bird names   News   Family groups 1-26    Glossary    Plumage    Tips    Thumbnails    Gen. info    Credits    Photos for sale   
NON-PASSERINES     1    2    3    4    5    6    7    8    9    10     11     12     13     14 15     16     17     18     19     20     21     22     23     24     25     26     PASSERINES
Common names sorted alphabetically: A   B   C   D   E   F   G   H   I   J   K   L   M   N   O   P   Q   R   S   T   V   W   Y  

15

Great Spotted Woodpecker

(Dendrocopos major)
German name(s): "Buntspecht"
Size: 22-23 cm; wing span: 34-39 cm
Weight: 60-90 g

Similar species

Description     Classification     Distribution     Sightings     Photos     Breeding     Nest     Eggs     Behaviour     Food     Call/s

Physical description

Click here for a physical description

Taxonomy, classification

See Great Spotted Woodpecker at Wikipedia .

Range, habitat, finding this species

Click here for information on habitat and range

Sightings

Click here for sighting information

Photos

Race "major"

ADULT

MALE

Distant near-frontal view of a male Great Spotted Woodpecker (photo courtesy of J. Pires)
[Mora, Evora, Portugal, October 2013]

Frontal/ventral view of a male Great Spotted Woodpecker (photo courtesy of D. Wilczynska)
[Near Ostrow Mazowiecka, Masovia, Poland, August 2016]

Near-lateral/ventral view of a male Great Spotted Woodpecker (photo courtesy of D. Wilczynska)
[Biebrza NP, Poland, May 2017]

Distant lateral view of a male Great Spotted Woodpecker (photo courtesy of J. Pires)
[Mora, Evora, Portugal, May 2017]

Lateral/ventral view of a male Great Spotted Woodpecker (photo courtesy of D. Wilczynska)
[Near Ostrow Mazowiecka, Masovia, Poland, August 2016]

Lateral view of a male Great Spotted Woodpecker foraging for wood-boring grubs; note the characteristic crimson spot on the nape of the neck (photo courtesy of D. Wilczynska)
[Near Ostrow Mazowiecka, Masovia, Poland, August 2016]

Near-lateral/ventral view of a male Great Spotted Woodpecker (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Saint Minver, near Wadebridge, Cornwall, England, September 2019]

Lateral view of a male Great Spotted Woodpecker (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Saint Minver, near Wadebridge, Cornwall, England, September 2019]

Lateral/ventral view of a male Great Spotted Woodpecker (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Saint Minver, near Wadebridge, Cornwall, England, September 2019]

Near-dorsal view of a male Great Spotted Woodpecker (photo courtesy of D. Wilczynska)
[Biebrza NP, Poland, May 2017]

Near-dorsal view of a male Great Spotted Woodpecker (photo courtesy of J. Pires)
[Mora, Evora, Portugal, March 2014]

Dorsal view of a male Great Spotted Woodpecker (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Saint Minver, near Wadebridge, Cornwall, England, September 2019]

Dorsal view of a male Great Spotted Woodpecker (photo courtesy of D. Wilczynska)
[Near Brok, Masovia, Poland, March 2019]

Dorsal/ventral view of a male Great Spotted Woodpecker (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Saint Minver, near Wadebridge, Cornwall, England, September 2019]

FEMALE

Near-lateral/ventral view of a female Great Spotted Woodpecker (photo courtesy of D. Wilczynska)
[Near Ostrow Mazowiecka, Masovia, Poland, April 2019]

Near-lateral view of a female Great Spotted Woodpecker; note the black back of the head (photo courtesy of D. Wilczynska)
[Near Ostrow Mazowiecka, Masovia, Poland, April 2019]

Lateral view of a female Great Spotted Woodpecker (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Saint Minver, near Wadebridge, Cornwall, England, September 2019]

Lateral/ventral view of a female Great Spotted Woodpecker (photo courtesy of D. Wilczynska)
[Near Ostrow Mazowiecka, Masovia, Poland, April 2019]

Lateral/ventral view of a female Great Spotted Woodpecker (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Saint Minver, near Wadebridge, Cornwall, England, September 2019]

Dorsal view of a female Great Spotted Woodpecker (photo courtesy of D. Wilczynska)
[Near Ostrow Mazowiecka, Masovia, Poland, April 2019]

Dorsal view of a female Great Spotted Woodpecker (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Saint Minver, near Wadebridge, Cornwall, England, September 2019]

Breeding information

Breeding season: Mar - July Eggs: 4 - 6 Incubation period: 10 - 12 days Fledging age: 20 - 23 days

The breeding season depends on geographic latitude.

Nest building: Male & female Incubation: Male & female Dependent care: Male & female

Nest

Type: Tree hollow Material: Unlined or wood chips Height above ground: 0.3 - 8 m

View into the nest hollow of a pair of Great Spotted Woodpeckers (photo courtesy of J. Pires)
[Mora, Evora, Portugal, April 2014]

Eggs

Size: 27 x 20 mm Colour: Glossy white Shape: Elliptical

Behaviour

Female Great Spotted Woodpecker doing what woodpeckers do, sending wood chips flying (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Saint Minver, near Wadebridge, Cornwall, England, September 2019]

Food, Diet

Great Spotted Woodpeckers feed primarily on wood-boring grubs.

Call(s)/Song

For this species we have recorded the following call(s)/song. The interpretation of their meaning is our own; comments and suggestions for improvement are welcome.

gswoodp_dw_20160806.m4a major (Poland) Contact calls? (male) © DW
gswoodp_dw_20160806_2.m4a major (Poland) Contact calls? (Q&A) © DW
gswoodp_dw_20190428.m4a major (Poland) Contact calls? (female) © DW

These pages are largely based on our own observations and those of our contributors. The structure of these bird pages is explained HERE. For more salient facts on any bird species please refer to a field guide.

Would you like to contribute photos or sound recordings to this site?
If interested, please CLICK HERE. Credits to contributors are given HERE.