Green Woodpecker - Call
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Green Woodpecker

picus viridis

The Green Woodpecker is the largest of the three woodpeckers that breed in Britain. It has a heavy-looking body, short tail and a strong, long bill. It is green on its upperparts with a paler belly, bright yellow rump and red on the top of its head. The black 'moustache' has a red centre in males.

 

The Green Woodpecker has an undulating flight and a loud, laughing call. Although a shy and wary bird, it is this call - known as yaffling - which first draws attention. It 'drums' only rarely (a soft, fast roll). 

It spends most of its time on the ground in short grass, feeding on ants. The Green Woodpecker uses its strong beak to dig into colonies and eat the inhabitants.

 

 

The Green Woodpecker nests in old tree trunks, pecking at dead wood to create a hollow. For this reason, old orchards provide an ideal habitat. There is a single brood of four to six white eggs, which both parents incubate, taking shifts of about two hours for 19-20 days. 

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