Seppo Kalliomäki Seppo Kalliomäki

© Copyright: Images: Jari Peltomäki, Seppo Kalliomäki, M. & W. von Wright (Kansalliskirjasto, The National Library of Finland). Recording: Jan-Erik Bruun. All rights reserved.

White-backed Woodpecker

Dendrocopos leucotos

  • Family: Woodpeckers – Picidae
  • Appearance: A largish woodpecker mainly black and white in colouring, with markings similar to Lesser Spotted Woodpecker. Vent and lower belly reddish, rump and lower back white, underparts have some sparse streaks. Can be distinguished from Great Spotted Woodpecker by absence of two wide white shoulder patches.
  • Size: Length 25–28 cm, wingspan 38–40 cm, weight 100–115 g.
  • Nest: In a hollow or decaying tree (usually birch or aspen).
  • Breeding: 3–5 eggs laid in May, incubated by both parents for about 10 days. Young able to fly within 25–28 days.
  • Distribution: Breeds in deciduous woodland. Requires large quantities of decaying wood in breeding territory. Critically endangered in Finland, where breeding population estimated at 200–250 pairs.
  • Migration: Sedentary, through may sometimes range over longer distances.
  • Diet: Insects and grubs found in decaying deciduous trees.
  • Calls: “Kiuk” call softer and quieter than call of Great Spotted Woodpecker. Drums powerfully.
  • Endangerment: Vulnerable, protected in Finland. Globally Least concern.

White-backed Woodpeckers can be distinguished from the more common Great Spotted Woodpecker by the pure white patch on their lower back and rump, the more extensive reddish colouring on their lower belly and vent, and the narrow streaks running along their flanks. Their mainly black wings have distinct white bands. Their facial markings include black moustache-like stripes that do not extend back as far as the nape. Males and juveniles have red caps, but females have black caps. White-backed Woodpeckers have dark grey legs and beaks, and reddish brown irises.

Other species from the same genus
Other species from the same family

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