Bird of Interest 4 – Green Woodpecker

Despite its size and colourful green plumage, the Green Woodpecker (Picus viridis) can be a tricky species to observe well. It is usually found climbing trees and excavating timber, but it also feeds on the ground, using its long tongue to extract ants from subterranean nests.

The adult male has a greenish-olive upperparts and whitish underparts. The head is adorned with a red crown, a black “mask” and a red-centered black “moustache”. The female is similar to the male, but the “moustache” is all black.

green woodpecker by Mostly Dans, on Flickr

It is found in open woodland, parks and gardens. It is a relatively common bird in central and southern England, but it becomes scarcer the more north of its range.

It is easily overlooked in the summer months due to the greenness of leaves, so it is most easily identified via its call, a distinctive yaffling, much like manic laughter.

Reference List:

  • Sterry.P., (2004) Collins Complete Guide to British Birds. Harper Collins Publishing Ltd, London.