Middle Spotted Woodpecker (Dendrocopos medius)

Middle Spotted Woodpecker

[order] PICIFORMES | [family] Picidae | [latin] Dendrocopos medius | [UK] Middle Spotted Woodpecker | [FR] Pic mar | [DE] Mittelspecht | [ES] Carpintero Mediano | [NL] Middelste Bonte Specht


Genus Species subspecies Breeding Range Breeding Range 2 Non Breeding Range
Dendrocopos medius EU w, sw
Dendrocopos medius anatoliae w and s Turkey
Dendrocopos medius caucasicus n Turkey through the Caucasus
Dendrocopos medius medius Europe to w Russia
Dendrocopos medius sanctijohannis Zagroa Mts. (sw Iran)

Physical charateristics

Often mistaken for Great Spotted Woodpecker (Dendrocopos major), but separated by its smaller size (L 20 cm) and all-red crown. Rather small woodpecker of similar appearance to Great Spotted Woodpecker, distinguishable by pale, mainly red and white head, smaller white patches on scapulars, distinctly streaked flanks, and creamy-buff or yellow body merging with pink rear belly and vent. Barring on flight-feathers and outer tail-feathers always obvious. Crown appears slightly crested.

Listen to the sound of Middle Spotted Woodpecker

[audio:http://www.aviflevoland.nl/sounddb/M/Middle Spotted Woodpecker.mp3]

Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto

wingspan min.: 33 cm wingspan max.: 34 cm
size min.: 19 cm size max.: 22 cm
incubation min.: 11 days incubation max.: 14 days
fledging min.: 22 days fledging max.: 14 days
broods: 1   eggs min.: 4  
      eggs max.: 7  


Eurasia : West, Southwest


Range roughly coincides with that of hornbeam, and consequently with heartland of European primitive broad-leaved forest. Favours mixed hornbeam-oak woodland, or in parkland elm; also old orchard and riverain alder woods in floodlands. Unfitted for such robust excavation as Great Spotted Woodpecker, and spends more time in surface gleaning. For similar reasons favours diseased or dead trees and branches. Thus able to coexist with Great Spotted Woodpecker in overlapping territories, but fails to spread into many apparently suitable habitats, even within already restricted range of acceptability.


Egg-laying in Central Europe from late April. Little apparent variation across range. has One brood. The nest is a hole in a tree (usually decaying, less often healthy), 1.25-4.5 m above ground; exceptionally, natural hollow behind bark. Nest is an excavated hole, c. 35 cm deep, with entrance hole 5 cm in diameter. Clutch size is 4-7 eggs which are incubated for 11-14 days, the young fledge after 22-23 days.

Feeding habits

Almost entirely insects throughout the year. During breeding season, feeding behaviour much as Great Spotted Woodpecker; searching tree-trunk, branch, twig, and leaf surfaces for insects; acrobatic and hangs upside down like tit more than does Great Spotted Woodpecker. Excavates wood much less than Great Spotted Woodpecker in winter, and surface gleaning remains chief foraging method. When excavating, confines attention largely to soft and rotten wood. Plant food includes seeds and some soft fruits.


This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). The population trend appears to be increasing, and hence the species does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is very large, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.
Middle Spotted Woodpecker status Least Concern


Mainly resident in the temperate zones of its Central European range

Distribution map

Middle Spotted Woodpecker distribution range map

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