What we do
Male lesser spotted woodpecker
Image: Steve Round
Lesser spotted woodpeckers declined by 72% between 1974-1999 according to CBC monitoring and is therefore red listed. The species is now too rare to be adequately monitored by the BBS scheme, but the Repeat Woodland Bird Survey suggests declines since the mid 1980s of between 43% and 59%.
Reasons for the decline are as yet unknown. This project aims to understand the ecology of the species and recommend conservation measures to reverse the decline.
A review of information gained so far will be held in 2014. This is aimed at identifying whether further research is needed to clarify causes of decline and whether we are able to confidently suggest a course of conservation action.
Lesser spotted woodpeckers’ favoured habitat includes tall closed canopy woodland of predominantly oak with a low cover of shrubs.
Nest sites are in deadwood in the upper half of live trees. They forage on the outer branches in the tops of live trees. Oaks were preferred for nesting and foraging.
Nest survival was low, 52% fledging young, with successful nest producing an average of 2.8 young.
Causes of nest failure were mainly starvation of young after adults disappeared, predation of nests by great spotted woodpeckers occurred less frequently.
Paul BellamySenior Conservation ScientistE-mail: email@example.com