Greater Spotted Woodpecker - Dendrocopos major

The greater spotted woodpecker is a regular visitor to the woods around Shotover and can often be heard drumming in spring. In 2003 a pair chose to nest in an ideal spot for photography and these photos are the result. They were taken on 31st May and 1st June.

Greater Spotted Woodpecker, Female & Chick
Here the female is at the nest hole about to feed a chick


Greater Spotted Woodpecker, Male

  Whilst the male waits his turn

Male and female are easily distinguished in this species. The adult male has a red patch at the back of the head, which is absent in the female. Youngsters have a full red cap.

Where's my breakfast? Greater Spotted Woodpecker, Chick

Whilst the young were in the nest, it seemed as though there was only one chick. Just one head was visible at the hole and he or she seemed to be responsible for all the shouting.

By the next morning the chicks were out of the nest, all 3 of them !

Greater Spotted Woodpecker, Chick 1 Greater Spotted Woodpecker, Chick 2

Two were safely lodged in convenient branches but the third was in the bracken.
Greater Spotted Woodpecker, Chick 3

He seemed not to have quite mastered this flying business! Let's hope he worked it out before it was too late.

Copyright © Alan Simpson 2003 Back to index.