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Conservation status: Red

The lesser spotted woodpecker is the smallest and least common of the three woodpeckers that are resident in Britain. The male is distinguished from the female by his bright red crown. It tends to nest and feed higher up and is quieter in its tapping. Usually located by its call, and its drumming. When feeding it creeps along branches and flutters from branch to branch, flying with an undulating flight in the open.



Latin name

Dendrocopos minor


Wrynecks and woodpeckers (Picidae)

Where to see them

You can find it in open woods, copses, parkland, gardens and orchards, but it tends to frequent the tops of trees, searching for larvae, spiders and wood-boring insects on smaller branches. In the UK, it is mainly limited to the south with the highest density of population occurring in the south-east of England. Lesser spotted woodpeckers do not breed in Scotland or on islands, such as the Isle of Wight, (although they are found on the Channel Islands) and they are absent from Ireland. In northern England, the lesser spotted is extremely local in Yorkshire, rare in Lancashire and in Wales scattered pairs occur apart from in the far west.

When to see them

The best time to look for it is in spring when it is active and there are not too many leaves on the trees, and when it is likely to call and drum.

What they eat



EuropeUK breeding*UK wintering*UK passage*
-1,000-2,000 pairs--




Patrik Aberg, Xeno-canto

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