The Woodpecker Network


News update: Lesser Spotted Wodpeckers are starting to excavate their nesting cavities, so now is the perfect time to go out and look for them in your local woods. Watch a superb video here

Watch this male  Lesser Spotted Woodpecker excavating its nesting cavity it was filmed by Ben Moyes on 4 April 2021.

Ben, a keen birder and student at University of Hull, said  'At dawn down by the river - Lesser Spotted Woodpeckers put on a brilliant performance, with the male excavating a nest hole for 20 minutes, fingers crossed for a good breeding year!'

The location is a dead Poplar tree in an area of wet woodland alongside a river. This habitat is favoured by Lesser Spots and they have bred successfully in the area for many years.

In the Ben's video you can see the wood chips flying. These chips are much smaller than from Great Spot or Green Woodpecker excavations. Looking for fresh wood chips under a tree is a good way to find the nest. The other clue is to listen for tapping sounds made by the birds when excavating a hole.

Lesser Spots only nest in dead trees or dead branches on living trees. Their favoured species are Alder, Birch, Poplar and Beech, usually in damp woodland and or close to a stream or pond. they also often nest on the edge of a clearing or the edge of the wood. More tips on how to find Lesser Spot nests

LSWm exc BenMoyes 4AprGood progress with the cavity, video by Ben MoyesSo far this spring we have had good numbers of sightings of Lesser Spots drumming and calling and pairs displaying; including records from Devon, Dorset, Essex, Greater Manchester, Kent, London, Norfolk, Northamptonshire, Nottinghamshire, Somerset, Staffordshire, Surrey, East and West Sussex, South Wales, Warwickshire, Wiltshire and Yorkshire as well as many reports from the New Forest.

Now is the time to follow up these sightings and find the birds excavating a nesting cavity. Frustratingly Lesser Spots often start excavating more than one hole. One LesserSpotNet volunteer has already found a pair excavating two different holes at once. Both males and females excavate holes.

Huge thanks to everyone who has been out looking for Lesser Spots and sent us reports. Please keep following the birds into May and June.

For those of you who have not found your birds yet, thanks for looking and keep searching.

If you find Lesser Spots please let us know via the website email.

We are also interested in reports of nesting Green Woodpeckers see our Green Woodpecker pages.


LSW RichardJacobs leftcolLesser Spotted Woodpecker by Richard Jacobs 2019 LSW TimPreston 256Lesser Spotted Woodpecker © Tim Preston

Don't confuse juvenile Great Spotted Woodpeckers with male Lesser Spots - they both have red caps!

Dont confuse your woodpeckers

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