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

Lesser Spotted Woodpecker

Dendrocopos minor

  • Latin synonym: Dryobates minor
  • Family: Woodpeckers – Picidae
  • Appearance: A small woodpecker, not much larger than a sparrow. Patterning of plumage most closely resembles White-backed Woodpecker. Head black and white, back mainly whitish with black crosswise spotted markings. Underparts pale with narrow, dark streaking. No red colouring on vent.
  • Size: Length 14–16.5 cm, wingspan 24–29 cm, weight 20–28 g.
  • Nest: Nesting hole almost always in a decaying tree, usually at a height of 3–7 metres, though may be as low as 0.5 metres.
  • Breeding: 4–8 eggs laid in May, incubated by both parents for 13–14 days. Fledglings able to fly within 19–21 days.
  • Distribution: Thrives in woodland dominated by broad-leaved trees. Scarce breeder from the Åland Islands to Northern Lapland. Finnish breeding population estimated at 4,000–7,000 pairs.
  • Migration: Sedentary, but in some years may range away from habitual territory during September and October.
  • Diet: Insects and grubs, dug out of decaying wood, but also caught on branches. In winter may forage in other areas including reed beds.
  • Calls: Typical call a repeated “git”, in spring also a series of shrill Wryneck-like calls. Sometimes drums.
  • Endangerment: Least concern, protected throughout the country, including the Åland Islands.

Finland’s smallest woodpecker, only about the size of a sparrow. Upper parts black and white. Faint streaks may be visible on flanks, with no red colouring on vent. Males have red caps, but females have whitish foreheads and black crowns. Lesser Spotted Woodpeckers’ legs are dark grey (mature birds) or greenish grey (juveniles). Their beaks are black and their irises are reddish brown (mature birds) or brown (juveniles).

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

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