Syrian Woodpecker (Dendrocopos syriacus)

Syrian Woodpecker

[order] PICIFORMES | [family] Picidae | [latin] Dendrocopos syriacus | [UK] Syrian Woodpecker | [FR] Pic syriaque | [DE] Blutspecht | [ES] Pico sirio | [NL] Syrische Bonte Specht


Genus Species subspecies Breeding Range Breeding Range 2 Non Breeding Range
Dendrocopos syriacus EU se Europe to s Iran
Dendrocopos syriacus milleri se Iran
Dendrocopos syriacus syriacus se Europe to Turkey sw Iran
Dendrocopos syriacus transcaucasicus Transcaucasia and n Iran

Physical charateristics

Unmistakable with its black and white plumage, white cheeks, and pinkish-red rump. 21-24 cm, 65-80 g, wingspan 34-40 cm. Nominate race has upperparts black with whitish patches on cheeks, neck flanks, and lesser wing-coverts, red nape, and medium sized, blackish-pink bill. Undertail coverts pinkish-red.
Sexes alike but female less the red patch on nape. Races vary mainly in size, and depth of coloration.

Listen to the sound of Syrian Woodpecker

[audio: Woodpecker.mp3]

Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto

wingspan min.: 34 cm wingspan max.: 39 cm
size min.: 22 cm size max.: 23 cm
incubation min.: 9 days incubation max.: 14 days
fledging min.: 23 days fledging max.: 14 days
broods: 1   eggs min.: 4  
      eggs max.: 7  


Eurasia : Southeast Europe to South Iran


Forests and woodlands, both coniferous and deciduous, with trunks exceeding 25 cm in diameter. Parks and gardens in towns, orchards. looks for food on evergreens but does not nest in them.


Egg laying in April to June. The nest is dug in the trunk or a thick branch, and is over 20 cm across, sometimes in an old nest, up to 6 m above the ground. Often, a number of nesting holes are found in one tree, recorded that sometimes, woodpeckers breeding there over a long period. The male is the main carver. The entrance is 4-5 cm in diameter. From the entrance, a burrow extends toward the center of the trunk, and after 10-15 cm it widens and turns downward. This section is 25-40 cm long and 7-11 cm across. There is no lining in the nest, other than wood shavings. 4 eggs, incubation 11-12 days, by both parents during the day, and only by male at night.

Feeding habits

Diet based on insects also Arthropods, sometimes fatty seeds, primarily walnuts and almonds.
Notable among the birds of Israel for its ability to move vertically on a tree trunk. It surveys the bark while climbing, knocking with its beak, locating prey by the insectes sound. When it locates an insect, it hits the bark strongly, exposes the insect and pulls it out with its long tongue.
Nuts, walnuts and almonds are cracked at a fixed perch. Underneath these stations a lot of shells accumulate, and various of passeriformes visit the place to feed on the crumbs.


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 extremely 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.
Syrian Woodpecker status Least Concern


Resident in Central and Eastern European zone, has recently expanded breeding range westward.

Distribution map

Syrian Woodpecker distribution range map

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