European middle woodpecker photo and description, what it looks like and where it lives

European middle woodpecker (lat. Dendrocopos medius, aquatic woodpecker) woodpecker order, woodpecker family.


The European Middle Woodpecker is a medium-sized bird that has become widespread in Europe and Asia, preferring to settle in broad-leaved forests dominated by oak plants. The woodpecker is often found in Europe, but is not so common in other territories.

This species has much in common with the fairly common Great Spotted Woodpecker, but a connoisseur may also notice significant differences between the two species. The average woodpecker is not so colorful, but it still has quite bright plumage. This woodpecker knocks little, and very rarely descends to the ground, preferring to spend time in the crown of trees. As a rule, woodpeckers lead a solitary lifestyle, but in winter it can be found accompanying flocks of tits or other birds on its territory.

Their color (we are talking about the pattern of the head) is different from other types of woodpeckers. European woodpeckers have practically no characteristic mustache, and the only dark mark can be called the strip along the neck to the chest (sometimes there is a branch to the cheek).

Around the eyes of these woodpeckers there is no black color of plumage characteristic of other species. Their forehead has a brownish-gray shade that looks sloppy compared to the white background of the cheeks.

Both females and males are equipped with a bright red cap (except that in females it has a yellowish tint), which forms a small crest on the back of the head.


This bird is mediumsized, although smaller than many other woodpeckers, and its body size is no more than 22 cm. The weight does not exceed 85 grams. Miniature is emphasized by a short beak with convex overshoot, and rounded outlines of the head. The plumage of the body is usually black, with a significant number of streaks in the area of ​​​​the wings and body. Belly and sides are painted yellowish, and stand out with frequent dark strokes. But the lower part of the abdomen has a slightly pinkish tint.

Lifestyle and behavior

The bird leads a sedentary lifestyle during nesting, and wanders at another time (for example, seasonal vertical nomads in mountainous territories).

Where they live

The distribution area of ​​this species usually covers the temperate and southern regions of Europe, including the minimum part of Western Asia. The westernmost habitat is noted in the northern part of the Cantabrian Mountains (Spain), as well as in the Pyrenees. Italy, the islands of the Mediterranean, France, up to the Baltic states and Eurasia: it is here that these birds are densely settled. It is almost impossible to meet in Northern Europe.

These birds are accustomed to settling in coniferous and broad-leaved forests, on plains and in river valleys, up to the foothills. They can also settle in parks and gardens.

What do they eat

The middle woodpecker eats mostly animal food, and, above all, we are talking about insects and their larvae. In winter, their diet may also include nuts and seeds. This type of woodpecker is not so active in gouging insects from the bark, and usually it prefers to peck them from the surface of branches.

Like some woodpeckers, the middle one often practices “forge”, t.e. a cleft in the bark or other opening into which nuts or other hard foods are inserted before chiselling.


This type of woodpecker reaches sexual maturity at the age of eight months. They are monogamous, but pairs last only throughout the season. These birds arrange nests in the hollows of dry oaks, always with a rotten core. The female lays up to seven eggs, one per day, and incubates the clutch, while the male helps her. Parents feed babies for up to two weeks, and then they carry out supplementary feeding, which lasts almost up to a month of age.

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