The Woodpecker Network


Great Spots are found widely throughout Britain, they are common in woodland and readily visit garden feeders. Lesser Spots are scarce and rarely seen. So you are much more likely to see a Great Spot than a Lesser Spot.

You can easily tell the difference………..

Great Spotted Woodpecker with its youngster © Paul Lewis2014 GSW adultjuv MapleLodge PaulLewisGreat Spots are quite small birds the size of a Starling, a bit smaller than a Blackbird.

They have a crimson patch under the tail, a black back with a clearly defined white patch on each 'shoulder' and spotted wings.

Males have a red patch on the back of the head, females do not.

Young Great Spots have a red crown which can cause confusion with male Lesser Spots. See our photo of a male Great Spot with its youngster

LesserSpot TimPreston 2015 250Lesser Spotted Woodpecker © Tim Preston




Lesser Spots are tiny, the size of a Sparrow or Chaffinch and are only a quarter of the weight of a Great Spot

There is no red under the tail and the back and wings have black and white bars/stripes.

Males have red on the top of the head, females do not.

For more detailed information on how to tell them apart watch BTO woodpecker identification video

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

© 2016-2024 The Woodpecker Network

Website design and build by Garganey Consulting