Great Spotted Woodpecker

Dendrocopos major

Great Spotted Woodpeckers are about the same size as Starlings. They are common birds of parkland and woodland but often feed in gardens. Great Spotted Woodpecker juveniles have red foreheads that are replaced by black as they moult in the autumn. Adult males then have a red nape but females have no red on their head at all and all these differences in plumage are easy to see.

Although attractive, Great Spotted Woodpeckers can make themselves unpopular by drilling holes in nest boxes and eating young birds. To get them to use nest boxes you need to put a lump of soft wood inside, so that they can hollow out the nest cavity for themselves. The male sits on the nest at night and a female may well use a near-by nest box to roost in.

For more information about Great Spotted Woodpeckers, see the BTO’s BirdFacts and Wider Countryside Report.

  • Large nest box with hole (50mm)
  • Nest height: 3m-5m above ground
  • No nest is made
  • Egg laying Starts between late April and mid June
  • 4 to 6 eggs. White
  • Incubation time: 14-16 days
  • Nestlings fledge after 20-24 days.