British wildlife recordings

Picus viridis : Green Woodpecker - Picidae

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  • Shelf mark

    W1CDR0001429 BD17

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  • Recording date


  • Recording locations

    Culver, Devon: OS Grid Reference(284500,90500)

  • Recordist

    Shove, Lawrence

  • Species

    Green Woodpecker, Picus viridis

  • Description

    The call of the green woodpecker, recorded near Culver, Devon. This vibrant yellow-green bird is Britain's largest woodpecker. It is more often heard than seen, betraying its presence with an unmistakeable and fast repeating 'kew-kew-kew-kew-kew' sound. Male birds possess a distinctive red crown with black eye-patch and red 'moustache'. Females are similar although their moustache is black. The bright yellow rump is revealed during flight, which is characteristically undulating. As with all woodpeckers this bird supports itself on trees with a tail comprised of stiff feathers. Unlike the other species, however, it is seen mostly on the ground, stabbing with its dagger-like beak for the favoured quarry of ants and their grubs. The diet of this handsome bird also consists of moths, wood-boring insect larvae, bees, beetles, seeds and fruit. During courtship male birds display against one another with swaying head movements, which are accompanied with outstretched wings and erect crest feathers. Both sexes bore the nesting chamber, which is located fairly high in trees. It is here that five to seven white eggs are laid. The male and female take part in incubating the eggs and in rearing their single brood.

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