• Welcome to BirdForum, the internet's largest birding community with thousands of members from all over the world. The forums are dedicated to wild birds, birding, binoculars and equipment and all that goes with it.

    Please register for an account to take part in the discussions in the forum, post your pictures in the gallery and more.
ZEISS DTI thermal imaging cameras. For more discoveries at night, and during the day.

Middle Spotted Woodpecker - BirdForum Opus

(Redirected from Dendrocoptes medius)
D. m. medius
Photo © by pavlik
Saratov region, Russia, 6 January 2007
Dendrocoptes medius

Dendrocopos medius


Photo © by volker sthamer
Kerzenheim, Germany, 24 July 2020

Length 19–22 cm, weight 50–85 g
Red crown above buffy-white face and forehead. Bill small for a woodpecker, dark grey. Black upperparts broken by white scapular patches and spots on wings. Black facial marks. Breast buffy white with dark streaks, grading into pink vent.

Male has brighter, glossier, and slightly more extensive red crown than female, but otherwise sexes identical in plumage. Juvenile as female.

Similar Species

Juvenile Great Spotted Woodpecker; black moustachial stripes meet at bill and nape; this and Syrian Woodpecker are stouter with larger, stronger bills. White-backed Woodpecker distinctly larger, with more barred back.


Almost confined to the Western Palearctic occurring elsewhere only in northern and south-west Iran.

Breeds from Brittany and central France east across Europe to about 42°E in Russia. In the north reaches the southern Baltic coast from Germany to Lithuania. To the south absent from the Alps and most of Italy but occurs throughout the Balkans south to southern Greece and Lesvos, in Turkey except the interior, and in the Caucasus. Isolated pockets in the Pyrenees and Cantabrians, perhaps northern Italy and parts of southern Italy. Formerly more widespread, but range has contracted in some areas, once breeding in southern Sweden and Denmark (last bred 1959); commonest in the southeast of Europe. Despite this has recently begun to breed in the Netherlands, Latvia and Lithuania.

Mainly resident but some wander in autumn and winter.

Vagrants recorded in Portugal, the Netherlands, Denmark and Estonia, also Iraq.



Four subspecies are currently accepted[1][2]:

  • D. m. medius:
  • D. m. caucasicus:
  • D. m. anatoliae:
  • D. m. sanctijohannis:
  • Zagros Mountains (south-western Iran)

D. m. caucasicus has yellower underparts and less red on vent. D. m. anatoliae is similar but smaller.


Found mainly in warm, sunny deciduous forest and woodland, particularly oak and hornbeam, also in alder and beech.


Feeds more on smaller outer branches than Great Spotted Woodpecker.


The call is a series of 'kik' notes, with the first note slightly higher pitch than the rest. Almost never drums.


Mainly insects and other wood-dwelling invertebrates. Also eats some fruit, nuts, and sap.


Nest is excavated in rotten trunk or thick branch. Entrance hole around 4cm


  1. Gill, F. and Donsker, D. (Eds). 2017. IOC World Bird Names (version 7.3). Available at http://www.worldbirdnames.org/.
  2. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2018. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2018. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  3. Collins Field Guide 5th Edition
  4. Collins Bird Guide ISBN 0 00 219728 6

Recommended Citation

External Links

GSearch checked for 2020 platform.1