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Woodcroft Wildspace
Downes Court


N21 3PT


Lesser Spotted Woodpecker (Dendrocopos minor)

The lesser spotted woodpecker is the smallest and least common of the three woodpeckers that are resident in Britain. It has rounded wings and a short, pointed tail.The male is distinguished from the female by his bright red crown; the female's crown is off-white. Apart from its tiny size you can easily recognise a lesser spotted because its upperparts are crossed with numerous narrow white bars instead of big white patches. Adult length is 14 to 15 cms with a wingspan of 25-27 cms. Weight 18 to 220 gms.

The lesser spotted woodpecker can be found in open woodland, parkland, copses, gardens and orchards. It likes to stay in the tops of trees, searching for larvae, spiders and wood-boring insects on smaller branches.

The main population is found in the South-east of England and in Yorkshire. They do not breed on islands such as the Isle of Wight, or in Scotland, and they are absent from Ireland.

They are more easily seen in spring when there are fewer leaves on the trees. It is usually located by its call, a repeated shrill "Kee-Kee-Kee".

The eat the larvae of wood-boring insects, spiders, and other invertebrates. Rarely, they will eat fruit. When feeding they creep along branches and flutter from branch to branch, flying with an open undulating flight pattern. They feed high up and their tapping is quieter than other woodpeckers.

The lesser spotted woodpecker starts breeding in early May. They nest in holes in trees, usually soft decayed wood, or they bore a hole in a side branch. The nest is tunnel shaped, leading to a larger, elongated chamber. 4 - 6 eggs are laid (occasionally 3 - 8 eggs) which are incubated for 14 days by both parents. The fledglings leave the nest in approx. 3 weeks.

The lifespan of the lesser spotted woodpecker is 5 to 10 years.

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