Belongs to: woodpeckers

Compare with: lesser spotted woodpecker

Great spotted woodpecker Dendrocopus major

Best time to see: all year

Key facts

Large black, white and red woodpecker frequently seen in woodland

Habitat: woods, hedges, parks and gardens

Widespread resident, often heard drumming by tapping a tree rapidly with their strong bill


Pied woodpecker with red undertail and dark pointed bill; male has red patch on back of head, juvenile on crown; 23 cm

Seen climbing up sides of tree where its call or drumming  may reveal presence; deeply undulating flight

Eats insects; sometimes visits peanut feeders in gardens and sometimes attacks beehives to get at the grubs


Both male and female excavate a nest hole in the trunk of a tree, usually 3m or more from the ground

One brood May to June; 4-7 white eggs

© Ken King

© David Harrison

© Alan Williams