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BTO Blueline
Dendrocopos major
Great Spotted Woodpecker © Colin Varndell
Conservation listings

Europe: no SPEC category, secure
UK: Green

Long-term trend
UK, England: rapid increase
Status summary
This species increased rapidly in the 1970s and began a further increase in the early 1990s. Dutch Elm Disease, which greatly increased the amount of standing dead timber and its associated insects, has been linked to the 1970s increase (Marchant et al. 1990). The ecological factors underlying the current increase are not yet known, but the species may be benefiting from the maturation of new forests and from the increasing provision of winter food in gardens. Brood size appears to be decreasing, but NRS data are sparse for this species.
CBC/BBS UK graph
Table of population changes for Great Spotted Woodpecker
Source Period
Years Plots
Alert Comment
CBC/BBS UK 33 1967-2000 215 188 95 300    
  25 1975-2000 267 65 37 93    
  10 1990-2000 484 48 34 62    
  5 1995-2000 734 33 25 38    
CBC/BBS England 33 1967-2000 195 187 100 353    
  25 1975-2000 242 66 38 103    
  10 1990-2000 437 51 35 71    
  5 1995-2000 660 33 26 41    
BBS UK 8 1994-2002 594 72 55 89    
BBS England 8 1994-2002 531 65 50 83    
BBS Wales 8 1994-2002 45 68 16 141    
BBS acknowledgement
CBC/BBS England graph
BBS UK graph
BBS England graph
BBS Wales graph
Table of productivity information for Great Spotted Woodpecker
Variable Period
Years Mean
Trend Predicted
in first year
in last year
Change Comment
Brood size 33 1968-2001 15 Curvilinear 3.13 chicks 2.45 chicks -0.68 chicks Small sample
Daily failure rate (chicks) 33 1968-2001 16 None       Small sample
Insufficient data on clutch size
available for this species
Brood size graph
Insufficient data on egg nest failure
available for this species
Chick nest failure graph


Insufficient data on laying date
available for this species



Insufficient data on CES
available for this species


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This report should be cited as:
Crick, H.Q.P., Marchant, J.H., Noble, D.G., Baillie, S.R., Balmer, D.E., Beaven, L.P., Coombes, R.H.,
Downie, I.S., Freeman, S.N., Joys, A.C., Leech, D.I., Raven, M.J., Robinson, R.A. and Thewlis, R.M. (2004)
Breeding Birds in the Wider Countryside: their conservation status 2003.
BTO Research Report No. 353. BTO, Thetford. (http://www.bto.org/birdtrends2003)

Pages maintained by Susan Waghorn and Iain Downie: Last updated 16 February, 2009