Saturday, 1 March 2008
Special birds: Grey-headed Woodpecker
At around 26cm long Grey-headed Woodpecker Picus canus (aka Grey-faced Woodpecker) is slightly smaller and more compact than its close relative Green Woodpecker. It is a medium sized woodpecker, similar in size to White-backed Woodpecker, larger than Great Spotted. It is mostly olive-green in colour with grey on the head and shoulders and black on the lores and with a thin black malar stripe. Males have a red forecrown. It's characteristic song is 6-10 quite musical notes “poo-poo-poo-poo-poo-poo” or perhaps “pu-pu-pu-pu-pu-pu” which often fade away at the end of the phrase. The global range of Grey-headed Woodpecker stretches beyond Europe as far as Japan and down through Indo-China and the Malaysian archipelago. The nominate canus race occurs in Europe, though usually in low densities and it is often rather localised. The species is certainly more common in eastern Europe then in the west. It typically inhabits older open deciduous forests but also parkland and floodplain forests, occasionally in mixed deciduous-conifer forests.