The Woodpecker Network


Don't get confused! At this time of year, if you see a Woodpecker with a bright red cap in your garden, it will be a young Great Spotted Woodpecker not a Lesser Spot.

This photo shows an adult male Great Spot with its youngster, note the young Great Spot has a bright red cap.

Note that Great Spots have long white shoulder patches and red unter the tail, Lesser Spots do not have these and are much smaller. 

How to tell them apart - Great Spotted Woodpeckers are quite small birds, smaller than a Blackbird. As in the photo above, Great Spots have a crimson/red patch under the tail and a black back with a clearly defined long white patch on each 'shoulder'.

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.

Lesser Spotted WoodpeckerLesser Spotted WoodpeckerLesser Spotted Woodpeckers are tiny, the size of a Sparrow or Chaffinch and weigh 20 grams (less than and ounce), only a quarter of the weight of a Great Spot

As in these photos, there is no red under the tail and the back and wings have messy black and white bars/stripes, they do not have the large white patches on the back.

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 

Thanks to LesserSpotnet volunteers for use of the images


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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