[order] Piciformes | [family] Picidae | [latin] Dendrocopos leucotos | [UK] White-Backed Woodpecker | [FR] Pic à dos blanc | [DE] Weissrückenspecht | [ES] Pico dorsiblanco | [IT] Picchio dorsobianco | [NL] Witrugspecht

Witrugspecht determination

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The largest (L 25 cm) of the "pied" woodpeckers, has black back and shoulders. Rather long-billed, and long-necked woodpecker, with black upperparts boldly barred white over wings and usually completely white on lower back and rump, and white underparts copiously streaked.

Occurs in broad-leaved, conifer, and mixed woodlands. Type of woodland preferred appears to be antithesis of that favoured by forestry managements, including a high proportion of decayed or fallen timber and slow cycle of natural regeneration, with much over-mature stock. Increasing spread of economic forestry seems unlikely to leave so much room for this species.

Dendrocopos leucotos is a widespread resident in eastern Europe, and occurs more patchily elsewhere, with Europe accounting for less than half of its global range. Its European breeding population is large (>180,000 pairs), and was stable between 1970-1990. Although there were declines in a few countries during 1990-2000, populations were stable or increased across most of its European range, and the species probably remained stable overall.
This woodpecker has a wide distribution in deciduous forests of the temperate and southern boreal regions of Eurasia, from the Pyrenees to China and Japan. Being strongly dependent on dead or dying trees, its distribution has considerably contracted in Europe following introduction of modern forestry methods. The strongly fragmented population of the European Union is estimated at 1100-2300 breeding pairs, and is still decreasing

Chiefly insects, especially larvae of wood-boring beetles, throughout the year; in some places, also nuts and berries outside breeding season. Insect prey obtained mostly by pecking into wood of dead and rotting deciduous trees.

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 370,000-1,100,000 individuals in Europe (BirdLife International in prep.). Global population trends have not been quantified; there is evidence of a population decline (del Hoyo et al. 2002), 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]

The nest is a hole in tree, usually in rotten wood. It is an excavated hole with an entrance hole height and width 56-69 × 47-64 cm, depth of cavity 25-37 cm. Clutch size 3-5 eggs which are incubated for 10-11 days, the young fledge after 24-28 days.

Resident in the whole of European breeding range, S. Scandinavia, E. Europe and Pyrenees