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Lesser Spotted Woodpecker


The lesser spotted woodpecker is the smallest and least common of the three woodpeckers that are resident in Britain. When feeding it creeps along branches and flutters from branch to branch, flying with an undulating flight in the open.

You can find it mainly in open woods, it tends to frequent the tops of trees, searching for larvae, spiders and wood-boring insects on smaller branches. The majority of the UK population is in the South East. They do not breed at all in Scotland, or the off shore Islands (although they are found on the Channel Islands). In northern England, the lesser spotted is extremely local in Yorkshire, yet rare in Lancashire.

The best time to look for it is in spring when it is active and there are not too many leave on the trees, and when it is likely to call and drum, this little woodpecker is often overlooked, its habits are very similar to those of the Great Spotted Woodpecker, and it has the same stumpy appearance, when bounding from tree to tree.

The nest hole is usually at a considerable height above the ground and may be so high as 30 or 40 feet. It is a smaller burrow than that of the Great Spotted Woodpecker, measuring from 1 to 2 inches in diameter. The shaft varies, the nesting cavity often being a foot or more below the entrance. Occasionally an old or natural hollow is used or enlarged.

Quick Facts

Number in Britain
4,500 (declining)

Conservation Status UK

Status in UK
Resident Breeder

14 cm



Forest, forest edge

First Record

Egg Size
19x15 mm

Egg Weight

Clutch Size
4-6 eggs

14-15 days

19-22 days

Number of broods

Maximum Recorded Age
6 years, 3 months



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