Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Europe's rarest woodpecker

Europe's rarest woodpecker is probably the White-backed Woodpecker Dendrocopos leucotos. It is largely absent from Western Europe (small numbers of the lilfordi race survive in the Spanish and French Pyrenees and the Appenines in Italy). It has declined badly in much of Scandinavia, but does seem to be doing quite well in Central and Eastern Europe. Lack of suitable, old, unmanaged forest and unfriendly forestry practises are the main causes of its demise in the west. It is a food specialist, mainly taking the larvae of wood-boring beetles from dead or dying trees and rotting timber. This is an adult male of the nominate race, taken recently in the Bukk Hills, Hungary, by Gerard Gorman.