Characteristics of trees preferred by foraging Middle Spotted Woodpecker Dendrocopos medius in northern Switzerland

Middle Spotted Woodpecker (Dendrocopos medius) Science Article 4


The endangered Middle Spotted Woodpecker Dendrocopos medius is restricted to oak forests. We analysed this woodpecker’s foraging trees and behaviour in a coppice-with-standards wood in the Swiss lowlands. Oaks Quercus spp. were highly preferred and their diameter at breast height mainly ranged from 36-72 cm, corresponding to an age of > 120 years. Over 78% of the foraging observations were made in oak crowns, and among these, medium-sized were used most frequently. Regarding their contacts with adjacent ones, the birds preferred crowns with none or one contact, whereas those with >= 3 contacts were avoided. Dead trees were used randomly for foraging and, within a tree, only 122 out of 436 foraging observations were made on dead substrate. Searching and probing were the most frequently observed foraging techniques. For the support of this species, a long-term management of moderately harvested forests containing old oaks is needed.

Pasinelli G. & Hegelbach J., ARDEA 85 (2): 203-209.

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