Sunday, 9 September 2007

Grey-headed Woodpecker: general ID

Measurements: Length 25-27 cm. Wingspan 38-40 cm. Thus Grey-headed is a medium sized woodpecker, similar in size to White-backed Woodpecker, smaller than Green and larger than Great Spotted. The plumage is mostly olive-green or moss green in colour. This species is more compact in appearance than its close relative Green Woodpecker being some 20% smaller, with a noticeably smaller head and a thicker, shorter neck and a shorter, finer, slightly upturned bill, all often evident when in flight. Grey head and shoulders, minimal black on face, only lores and narrow malar stripe black, not all the orbital area as in nominate Green Woodpecker. Thus it lacks the intense, alert look of that species. Most of the under-parts are a plain pale-grey. Iris is white or slightly pinkish. Bill mainly grey to charcoal with base of lower mandible paler sometimes with a yellowish hue. Legs greenish-grey. Photo above is of am adult male in Sweden in December 2005 (Göran Ekström)

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