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March 2020

Tuesday, 31 March 2020

March Bird of the Month - Lesser Spotted Woodpecker

March Bird of the Month - Lesser Spotted Woodpecker

Mainly solitary outside the breeding season, individuals will sometimes join tit flocks and other small woodland birds in autumn and winter.

They breed in lowland areas of deciduous woodlands and in isolated trees such as riverside alders. The nest hole is excavated by both sexes and nesting begins in April or May. When displaying in spring, the male has a beautiful moth-like display flight.

The call is a shrill 'pee, pee, pee', similar to the call of a kestrel but weaker. Drumming, heard from February to April (and occasionally in autumn) is longer, more rattling and softer than that of the Great Spotted. A Lesser Spot's territory can cover an area of 5 square miles. Flight is undulating but more fluttering than that of the other two woodpeckers.

Both sexes have backs and wings barred black and white, but lack the large white wing patches of the Great Spotted. There are no crimson feathers under the tail and the underparts are off-white with fine dark streaking. The male has a dull red crown and the female's crown is a dirty white.