Saturday, 21 December 2013




(and everyone else, too, I suppose)

Eurasian Green Woodpecker Picus viridis, Hungary, by Gerard Gorman

Friday, 6 December 2013

Facebook Group

If you use FACEBOOK, then check out, join, and contribute to the WOODPECKERS OF THE WORLD GROUP:

Thursday, 14 November 2013

Woodpeckers of the World due in 2014

After many years of research and writing, my new book WOODPECKERS OF THE WORLD: A Photographic Guide will be published next summer. I am currently sorting through 100s of wonderful colour images of the world's picids and writing their captions. Here is a draft of the cover, which may not be final, but at least illustrates what is in store ! Click the link above to view the publisher's page and perhaps order a copy at the pre-publication price. Gerard Gorman.

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Great Spotted Woodpecker posing

A great pose and image of a Great Spotted Woodpecker Dendrocopos major. Taken in Austria by Gerhard Rotheneder.

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

White-backed Woodpecker male

Male White-backed Woodpecker Dendrocopos leucotos, nominate race. Bukk Hills, October 2013, Gerard Gorman.

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Woodpecker feet and tail

In this classic picid pose, this female Black Woodpecker shows how she uses her feet to cling to bark and her tail to act as a prop and provide support. In fact, the majority of woodpeckers have many anatomical adaptations that facilitate their arboreal lifestyle - their whole body is designed for a life of climbing up and hacking into trees and hammering on hard surfaces.

Friday, 20 September 2013

Grey-faced Woodpecker close-up

Here is a nice close-up image of a Grey-faced (aka Grey-headed) Woodpecker male. This species ranges from Europe right across Eurasia to SE Asia with many races, some visually very distinct. The nominate Picus canus canus occurs in Europe. Photo taken near Traisen, Austria, by Thomas Hochebner.  

Monday, 9 September 2013

Sunday, 1 September 2013

So-called 'damage to trees' by woodpeckers

The term 'damage' is often used to describe the holes made by woodpeckers in trees. This term is something of a misnomer however, as it is almost always insects, especially wood-boring beetles, that 'damage' trees and ultimately it is they, together with fungi, that cause tree to rot and die. Woodpeckers hack into timber to prey upon such insects and in many cases are natural controllers of these pests, working on wood that is already infested and largely useless as timber. The standing dead tree in this photo has been beaten-up by woodpeckers in search of the insects which had first bored into and killed the tree. I have observed Black, Eurasian Green, Middle Spotted and Great Spotted Woodpeckers at this spot I regularly visit in the Buda Hills, Hungary. Gerard Gorman.   

Monday, 26 August 2013

White-backed Woodpecker - fresh feeding site

This photo shows a typical, diagnostic in Europe, feeding site of White-backed Woodpecker Dendrocopos leucotos. Birds mostly work like this in the autumn and winter, striping bark from standing dead or dying trees and stumps and then systematically working the area beneath before extracting wood-boring beetle larvae from their exposed burrows. Fine beak marks and wood-dust and powder are typical. Photo taken in the Bukk Hills, Hungary, in August 2013, by Gerard Gorman.

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Another Quiz Woodpecker

It has been some time since my last quiz woodpecker post. And the last few were not hard. Now here is one that might be a little more difficult. So, species ? age ? sex ? Have a go !

Thursday, 1 August 2013

Black Woodpecker feeding hole

The only woodpecker in Europe that makes holes such as this is Black Woodpecker Dryocopus martius. The large cavity (compare size to the man's hand), is at the base of a mountain beech in the Spanish Pyrenees. Black Woodpeckers often feed low down in this way. Photo: Gerard Gorman. 

Thursday, 25 July 2013

Syrian Woodpecker close-up

Syrian Woodpecker Dendrocopos syriacus female. Taken in Bulgaria in June 2012 by Peter Basterfield.

Friday, 19 July 2013

Woodpeckers in Tracks and Signs Book

My new book POCKET GUIDE TO TRACKS AND SIGNS is due out this September. Published by New Holland, London. Although it covers mostly European mammals, as well as some insects, there are photos and information on birds including the signs that woodpeckers make. Check out the link about for more details. Gerard Gorman.

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

A Quiz Woodpecker

Here is another quiz woodpecker for you ? Which European species is this ?  I took this picture in Hungary, so there are five 'black-and-white' species to choose from.

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Wryneck chick

Recently fledged Wryneck Jynx torquilla. Bukk Hills, Hungary, June 2013, Gerard Gorman. 

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Juvenile female Black Woodpecker

Juvenile female Black Woodpecker Dryocopus martius. females have red only on the hind-crown, males have an all-red crown (see previous blog entry). Photo taken in Dordogne, France by Yann Cambon.

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Juvenile Male Black Woodpecker

Juvenile male Black Woodpecker Dryocopus martius. Even at this age the sexes differ in plumage: females have red only on the hind-crown, males have an all-red crown. Photo taken in Dordogne, France by Yann Cambon.

Monday, 3 June 2013

Old Growth Forest

In Europe old growth mixed deciduous-conifer forest is scarce. The best remnants remain in uplands and in the east of the continent. Such forests, with lots of dead and rotting timber and hence high numbers of bark and wood-boring beetles, are the home of White-backed and Eurasian Three-toed Woodpeckers. Photo: Urwald Lahnsattel Forest, Lower Austria, taken by Gerard Gorman in May 2013.

Sunday, 26 May 2013

Great Spotted Woodpecker - woodchips

Woodpeckers make no attempt to conceal the locations of their nesting holes by removing or hiding the debris that results from excavation. Wood-chips, like these below a Great Spotted Woodpecker cavity in the Buda Hills, Hungary, are simply tossed out from the hole and lie below the nesting tree. 

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Woodpeckers in flight

Not all woodpeckers fly in an undulating, bounding manner, as is often stated. Around the world there are many that fly with flapping, crow-like wingbeat actions. In Europe, the Black Woodpecker is an example - its flight style often recalls a Jay or Nutcracker. Photo of this Black Woodpecker taken by the River Tisza in NE Hungary by Gerard Gorman.

Thursday, 9 May 2013

The wonderful woodpecker bill

Woodpecker bills are impressive. They have evolved to be a multi-purpose tool... a hammer, a gouge, a chisel, a dagger. The bill is so important, it develops rapidly, being large and robust on nestlings even before they have grown feathers.

Sunday, 28 April 2013

Syrian Woodpecker on utility-pole

Syrian Woodpecker Dendrocopus syriacus on the top of a utility-pole in a garden in Budapest. The lack of red on the hindcrown indicates a female. 

Monday, 22 April 2013

Syrian Woodpecker close up

Here is a close up of the head of a Syrian Woodpecker Dendrocopos syriacus. The red on the hindcrown indicates a male. Note the lack of a post-auricular stripe. In a close relative, Great Spotted Woodpecker, there is such a line (running over ear-coverts to touch the black nape).

Thursday, 11 April 2013

Syrian Woodpecker with walnut

Syrian Woodpeckers are very fond on nuts. This female with half a walnut shell was photographed in Budapest, Hungary by Szabolcs Kokay.

Friday, 5 April 2013

Quiz Woodpecker 2

Here is the 2nd quiz woodpecker for 2013. Identifying this European species should not be hard, but which sex is it ?

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Video on Woodpeckers in SE Italy

Here is an excellent documentary about woodpeckers, particularly Middle Spotted Woodpecker, in the Gargano NP, Italy. Enjoy... even if you do not understand Italian it is well worth watchuing!

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Quiz Woodpecker

Here is the first quiz woodpecker of 2013. Which European species is this ?

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Green Woodpecker wing

Wing of a Green Woodpecker Picus viridis. Cause of the bird's death unknown. Photo: Budapest, Hungary, Gerard Gorman.

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Gallery: Eurasian Three-toed Woodpecker female

Foraging female Eurasian Three-toed Woodpecker Picoides tridactylus. Photo taken in Austria by Gerard Gorman.