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Bird Guide: Great Spotted Woodpecker

Take a look at our Great Spotted Woodpecker bird guide. As the most common of the three woodpecker species in the UK, you could be lucky enough to see one in your garden. Did you know, sometimes a woodpecker can be heard drumming into a tree from 400m away? Great Spotted Woodpeckers usually love live food. They enjoy larvae, ants and spiders especially. However, if you have peanuts, suet or sunflower seeds out in the garden, look out for them!

Find out more below. Want to learn about a different bird species? Check out our bird guide.


BTO Facts

According to Garden BirdWatch data, which has been collected since 1995, they are most frequently seen in gardens in June, in around 30% of gardens. Great Spotted Woodpeckers have increased in gardens since Garden BirdWatch began. One of the possible reasons for this increase is lack of completion for nest sites from Starlings, which have declined in recent years.

Great Spotted Woodpecker


Great Spotted Woodpeckers can be identified by their black and white plumage and red under tail. Males and females can be identified because males have a red marking on their nape whilst the females do not have this.



Can be spotted in most of the UK with the exception of highland Scotland


Woods and suburban woodland and gardens

Play Sound


Breeding season takes place between April and July. These birds will excavate a hole in a tree to lay their eggs which are white in colour. Each season Great Spotted Woodpeckers will typically lay one brood containing 4-6 eggs. The incubations period is 14-16 days.



36 cm

22 cm


Insects from within deadwood, some seeds, peanuts, suet and other birds eggs.

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