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Conservation status: Green

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 green on its upperparts with a paler belly, bright yellow rump and red on the top of its head. The black 'moustache' has a red centre in males. They have an undulating flight and a loud, laughing call.



Latin name

Picus viridis


Wrynecks and woodpeckers (Picidae)

Where to see them

Green woodpeckers spend most of their time feeding on the ground. Look out for them on your garden lawn or in parks - short grass provides good feeding opportunities for them. Like other woodpeckers, these birds breed in holes they peck in dead wood. They can be seen in England, Wales and Scotland, though they're absent from the far north and west and Ireland.

When to see them

All year round.

What they eat

Ants, ants, and more ants. They use their strong beak to dig into ant colonies and eat the inhabitants.


EuropeUK breeding*UK wintering*UK passage*
-52,000 pairs--




Olivier Grosselet, Xeno-canto

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