Somerset Wildlife Trust

Work For Us|

Great Spotted Woodpecker

Great Spotted Woodpecker

Scientific name: Dendrocopos major

The Great Spotted Woodpecker (or Greater Spotted Woodpecker), is a species of the woodpecker family (Picidae). Itr is 23 to 26 cm long, with a 38 to 44 cm wingspan. The upperparts are glossy black, with white on the sides of the face and neck. A black line zigzags from the shoulder halfway across the breast (in some subspecies nearly meeting in the center), then back to the nape; a black stripe, extending from the bill, runs below the eye to meet this latter part of the zigzag line. On the shoulder is a large white patch and the flight feathers are barred with black and white. The three outer tail feathers are barred; these show when the short stiff tail is outspread, acting as a support in climbing. The underparts are dull white, the abdomen and undertail coverts crimson. The bill is slate black and the legs greenish grey. Males have a crimson spot on the nape, which is absent in females and juvenile birds. In the latter, the top of the head is crimson between the bill and the center of the crown instead.

Information and photograph courtesy of