great spotted woodpecker

Bird Guide: Great Spotted Woodpecker

Take a look at our Great Spotted Woodpecker bird guide. As the most common of the three woodpecker species in the UK, you could be lucky enough to see one in your garden. Did you know, sometimes a woodpecker can be heard drumming into a tree from 400m away? Great Spotted Woodpeckers usually love live food. They enjoy larvae, ants and spiders especially. However, if you have peanuts, suet or sunflower seeds out in the garden, look out for them!


great spotted woodpecker

To find out more about other birds, take a look at our interactive bird guide.

great spotted woodpecker


Great Spotted Woodpeckers can be identified by their black and white plumage and red under tail. Males and females can be identified because males have a red marking on their nape whilst the females do not have this


Wrens can be spotted in most areas across the UK, with the exception of the highlands, Scotland


Woods, suburban woodlands and gardens


Insects from within deadwood, some seeds, peanuts, suet and other birds eggs



Breeding season takes place between April and July. These birds will excavate a hole in a tree to lay their eggs which are white in colour. Each season Great Spotted Woodpeckers will typically lay one brood containing 4-6 eggs. The incubations period is 14-16 days

BTO Facts


According to Garden BirdWatch data, which has been collected since 1995, they are most frequently seen in gardens in June, in around 30% of gardens. Great Spotted Woodpeckers have increased in gardens since Garden BirdWatch began. One of the possible reasons for this increase is lack of completion for nest sites from Starlings, which have declined in recent years.




Food we recommend


sunflower hearts  peanuts


Nest boxes we recommend

Great Spotted Woodpeckers do not require a nest box. They place their nests in both live and dead trees, sometimes in the tree trunk and sometimes in larger limbs on the trees.