Saturday, 23 August 2014

Lesser spotted woodpecker

Dendrocopos minor

Photo by Zsombor Károlyi (Zsombor Károlyi's Photo Blog)

Common name:
lesser spotted woodpecker (en); pica-pau-malhado-pequeno (pt); pic épeichette (fr); pico menor (es); kleinspecht (de)

Order Piciformes
Family Picidae

This species is found through continental Europe and southern Great Britain, through Turkey and the Caucasus into northern Iran, and along the middle and southern latitudes of Russia into northern Kazakhstan, northern Mongolia, North Korea and northern Japan.

These birds are 14-16,5 cm long and have a wingspan of 24-29 cm. They weigh 16-28 g.

The lesser spotted woodpecker is mostly found in temperate and boreal deciduous forests, also using the vegetation surrounding fresh water lakes and rivers, rural gardens and urban parks. they occur from sea level up to an altitude of 2.000 m.

They feed on small adult and larval insects such as caterpillars, aphids, ants, beetles, and other surface-dwelling arthropods, taken from decaying wood, but also from the surface of branches and from reeds.

Lesser spotted woodpeckers breed in April-July and are mostly monogamous with pair bonds sometimes extending over several years. They nest on a hole excavated in a decaying tree, usually 3-20 m above the ground, where the female lays 4-8 white eggs. The eggs are incubated by both parents for 13-14 days and the chicks fledge 19-21 days after hatching. Each pair usually raises a single brood per year.

IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has an extremely large breeding range and the global population is estimated at 2,8-13,2 million individuals. The population in Europe have undergone a moderate decline over the last 3 decades, possibly owing to loss of deciduous habitats, loss of orchards, forest fragmentation and admixture of conifers.

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