Greater spotted woodpecker
Greater spotted woodpeckers give us one of the loudest and most recognisable sounds of spring. This iconic bird can commonly be found on the side of a tree drumming the bark with their powerful beak. Their distinctive drumming sound tells us when the male is ready to attract a mate – single males can drum up to 600 times a day.
The greater spotted woodpecker has a creamy-white chest with black-barred wings and a red rump, with males owning a red spot at the back of their neck which tells them apart easily from females. Juveniles have a bright red cap which fades after their first moult.
There are three native species of woodpecker in Britain: the greater spotted, the lesser spotted and the green woodpecker. The greater and lesser spotted are similar in colouring, however, the greater spotted is close in size to a blackbird, while the lesser spotted is close to that of a robin and is much rarer.