RSPB
Skip navigation

Conservation status: Green

About blackbird-sized and striking black-and-white. It has a very distinctive bouncing flight and spends most of its time clinging to tree trunks and branches, often trying to hide on the side away from the observer. Its presence is often announced by its loud call or by its distinctive spring 'drumming' display. The male has a distinctive red patch on the back of the head and young birds have a red crown.

Illustrations

Overview

Latin name

Dendrocopos major

Family

Wrynecks and woodpeckers (Picidae)

Where to see them

Woodlands, especially with mature broad-leaved trees, although mature conifers will support them. Also in parks and large gardens. Will come to peanut feeders and birdtables. Not found in the far North of Scotland. Only a handful of pairs nest in Ireland, but numbers are increasing. Common in England and Wales.

When to see them

All year round.

What they eat

Insects, seeds and nuts.

Population

EuropeUK breeding*UK wintering*UK passage*
-140,000 pairs--

Distribution

Key

Audio

Mathias Ritschard, Xeno-canto