[order] Piciformes | [family] Picidae | [latin] Dendrocopos syriacus | [UK] Syrian Woodpecker | [FR] Pic syriaque | [DE] Blutspecht | [ES] Pico sirio | [IT] Picchio rosso di Siria | [NL] Syrische Bonte Specht

Syrische Bonte Specht determination

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Unmistakable with its black and white plumage, white cheeks, and pinkish-red rump. 21-24 cm, 65-80 g, wingspan 34-40 cm. Nominate race has upperparts black with whitish patches on cheeks, neck flanks, and lesser wing-coverts, red nape, and medium sized, blackish-pink bill. Undertail coverts pinkish-red. Sexes alike but female less the red patch on nape. Races vary mainly in size, and depth of coloration.

Forests and woodlands, both coniferous and deciduous, with trunks exceeding 25 cm in diameter. Parks and gardens in towns, orchards. looks for food on evergreens but does not nest in them.

Dendrocopos syriacus is a widespread resident across much of central and south-eastern Europe, which constitutes >50% of its global range. Its European breeding population is large (>530,000 pairs), and increased between 1970-1990. Although the species increased or was stable in most of its range during 1990-2000, some populations experienced declines—notably the Turkish stronghold—and the species probably declined slightly overall.
This woodpecker inhabits oak (Quercus) forests and a variety of open habitats in the Near East, from Turkey to the Caucasus and Iran. Since the end of last century, it is colonising the Balkan Peninsula and Central Europe. Since the 1970's isolated observations have been made in southern and eastern Germany, but its progression seems currently to be slower or even halted. The population of the European Union (12 Member States) is limited to Greece, and can be estimated at 10000-25000 breeding pairs

Diet based on insects also Arthropods, sometimes fatty seeds, primarily walnuts and almonds. Notable among the birds of Israel for its ability to move vertically on a tree trunk. It surveys the bark while climbing, knocking with its beak, locating prey by the insectes sound. When it locates an insect, it hits the bark strongly, exposes the insect and pulls it out with its long tongue. Nuts, walnuts and almonds are cracked at a fixed perch. Underneath these stations a lot of shells accumulate, and various of passeriformes visit the place to feed on the crumbs.

This species has a large range, with an estimated global Extent of Occurrence of 1,000,000-10,000,000 km². It has a large global population, including an estimated 1,100,000-2,100,000 individuals in Europe (BirdLife International in prep.). Global population trends have not been quantified, but populations appear to be stable (del Hoyo et al. 2002) so 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 April to June. The nest is dug in the trunk or a thick branch, and is over 20 cm across, sometimes in an old nest, up to 6 m above the ground. Often, a number of nesting holes are found in one tree, recorded that sometimes, woodpeckers breeding there over a long period. The male is the main carver. The entrance is 4-5 cm in diameter. From the entrance, a burrow extends toward the center of the trunk, and after 10-15 cm it widens and turns downward. This section is 25-40 cm long and 7-11 cm across. There is no lining in the nest, other than wood shavings. 4 eggs, incubation 11-12 days, by both parents during the day, and only by male at night.

Resident in Central and Eastern European zone, has recently expanded breeding range westward.