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Common name Great spotted woodpecker
Scientific name Dendrocopos major
Type Forest birds
Status Resident

Medium-sized bird (about 23 cm or 9 in) and colourful plumage, typical of woodpeckers. Black and white dorsal plumage. Black lines on the face that connect to the throat, bill, neck and breast. White ventral plumage and intense red anal area. Males with red nape and black in females. Black wings and tail with white flecking. Juveniles with red nape and crown.


Woodland environment

Where it lives

Woodland species. All kinds of forests and often also in parks and gardens. It prefers dense pine woods, but is present in holm and cork woods and poplar groves.

How it lives

Resident species and present in Malaga all year round. From May it builds a nest every year drilling deep the bark of a tree and lays from 5 to 7 eggs. This bird feeds on insects, especially larvae present in the wood and bark of trees. It also consumes sap by "chiseling" the bark and producing a wound so that the tree bleeds. In winter it takes acorns and pine nuts, puts them in holes in the bark of the trees and pecks at them to open and eat them.

Where it can be seen in Malaga

Frequent bird. Present in all the forests of the Great Path. It can be observed practically in almost all stages.

Curious facts

Woodpeckers have two very special adaptations. One is its strong bill, which allows them to hammer and peck the wood. For this to be possible and the continuous blows do not cause brain damage they have a spongy tissue at the base of the bill that absorbs the blows. The other adaptation is a very long tongue, sticky and projectible outside the bill that can enter the holes of the bark to extract the larvae of insects.

Wintering Summer Resident Migration