[order] Piciformes | [family] Picidae | [latin] Dendrocopos medius | [UK] Middle Spotted Woodpecker | [FR] Pic mar | [DE] Mittelspecht | [ES] Carpintero Mediano | [IT] Picchio rosso mezzano | [NL] Middelste Bonte Specht

Middelste Bonte Specht determination

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Often mistaken for Great Spotted Woodpecker (Dendrocopos major), but separated by its smaller size (L 20 cm) and all-red crown. Rather small woodpecker of similar appearance to Great Spotted Woodpecker, distinguishable by pale, mainly red and white head, smaller white patches on scapulars, distinctly streaked flanks, and creamy-buff or yellow body merging with pink rear belly and vent. Barring on flight-feathers and outer tail-feathers always obvious. Crown appears slightly crested.

Range roughly coincides with that of hornbeam, and consequently with heartland of European primitive broad-leaved forest. Favours mixed hornbeam-oak woodland, or in parkland elm; also old orchard and riverain alder woods in floodlands. Unfitted for such robust excavation as Great Spotted Woodpecker, and spends more time in surface gleaning. For similar reasons favours diseased or dead trees and branches. Thus able to coexist with Great Spotted Woodpecker in overlapping territories, but fails to spread into many apparently suitable habitats, even within already restricted range of acceptability.

Dendrocopos medius is a widespread resident across much of central and south-eastern Europe, which constitutes >95% of its global range. Its European breeding population is large (>140,000 pairs), and was stable between 1970-1990. Although there were declines in south-eastern Europeónotably in Romaniaóduring 1990-2000, key populations in Germany, Poland and Greece were stable (though the trend in France was unknown), and the species probably remained stable overall.
This woodpecker inhabits deciduous forest in temperate, boreal and Mediterranean regions of Europe and the Near East, from northern Spain and Sweden to Iran. Being dependent on old grown oak (Quercus) forests, its numbers has been drastically reduced throughout Europe, and the species has become extinct in many regions. The population of the European Union is currently estimated at 22000 breeding pairs

Almost entirely insects throughout the year. During breeding season, feeding behaviour much as Great Spotted Woodpecker; searching tree-trunk, branch, twig, and leaf surfaces for insects; acrobatic and hangs upside down like tit more than does Great Spotted Woodpecker. Excavates wood much less than Great Spotted Woodpecker in winter, and surface gleaning remains chief foraging method. When excavating, confines attention largely to soft and rotten wood. Plant food includes seeds and some soft fruits.

This species has a large range, with an estimated global Extent of Occurrence of 1,000,000-10,000,000 km≤. It has a large global population, including an estimated 310,000-710,000 individuals in Europe (BirdLife International in prep.). Global population trends have not been quantified, but the species is not believed to approach the thresholds for the population decline criterion of the IUCN Red List (i.e. declining more than 30% in ten years or three generations). For these reasons, the species is evaluated as Least Concern. [conservation status from birdlife.org]

Egg-laying in Central Europe from late April. Little apparent variation across range. has One brood. The nest is a hole in a tree (usually decaying, less often healthy), 1.25-4.5 m above ground; exceptionally, natural hollow behind bark. Nest is an excavated hole, c. 35 cm deep, with entrance hole 5 cm in diameter. Clutch size is 4-7 eggs which are incubated for 11-14 days, the young fledge after 22-23 days.

Mainly resident in the temperate zones of its Central European range