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Bird Sightings : Hebrides : Great Spotted Woodpecker



Awaiting image for this species



Great Spotted Woodpecker

Dendrocopus major

Gaelic: Snagair Daraich


  • Great Spotted Woodpecker
  • Dendrocopus major
  • Gaelic: Snagair Daraich
  • UK: Resident Breeder, Scarce Visitor
  • UK: 41,000 pairs (Summer) BTO
  • WI: Rare visitor (30 or less records)
  • Breeding: In a rotten tree bores a round hole. (Horizontal few inches then vertically down 6-12 inches). At bottom excavates a chamber. Lays 4-7 creamy-white eggs on wood chips. (Hole used once only). Europe, Asia
  • Winters: Mostly resident but northernmost birds move south
  • Habitat: Woodlands, parks or gardens with mature trees
  • Diet: Much of time is clinging to tree trunks & branches feeding. Mostly insects like grubs, moths or beetles from crevices in bark, or in dead wood. Also eats tree seeds like beechmast, acorns & nuts. (will use peanut feeders, birdtables). Berries. Birds' eggs.
  • Blackbird-sized black-and-white bird. Male mostly black above with white spots on wings & large white patch on 'shoulder'. Crimson spot on nape. White sides to face & neck. Black crown. Buffish white below. Crimson abdomen & undertail. Slate-black bill. Legs greenish-grey. Female & juveniles have no crimson on nape. Juvenile has crimson crown. Bouncing flight.
  • Max recorded age 12yrs 8ths
  • Listen to a Great Spotted Woodpecker (RSPB site) . Call quet, quet . Bill on bark makes a mechanical drumming sound
  • Similar birds: Lesser Spotted Woodpecker (no crimson on abdomen. Not on the Outer Hebrides Birds Checklist)



Great Spotted Woodpecker records in the Western Isles

Rare visitor (30 or less records)


The chart below shows how abundant the Great Spotted Woodpecker is during a month or when you are more likely to see it.














(Source: Outer Hebrides Birds Checklist)



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