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Eurasian Green Woodpecker
Includes: Iberian Green Woodpecker
31â33 cm (12ÂŒ-13 in)
Sexes similar except male has a crimson centre to the moustache
The Iberian race P. v. sharpei which lacks the black mask and moustache. It is now accepted as full species by IOC.
Generally common and widespread over much of its range; scarce, but increasing, on the northern fringes of its range. Breeds in Britain north to central Scotland, and from Iberia and France east to about 50 degrees east in Russia, also in the Caucasus, Iran and southwesternmost Turkmenistan. In the north found in coastal and southern parts of Norway and Sweden, Poland and the Baltic States. Occurs south to the north Mediterranean coast from southern Spain to Greece and Turkey.
Resident throughout range with only short-distance dispersal but may move further in the east as a result of more severe winter weather. Vagrants have been recorded in Ireland, Finland, Malta and the Balearics.
There are three or four subspecies, depending on authority:
Deciduous or mixed woodland, generally in more lowland areas than Grey-headed Woodpecker. Can be common in parks and large gardens, and also open areas with scattered trees, especially in winter.
Usually solitary or in pairs, feeds mainly on the ground, often 'star-gazes'.
Markedly undulating flight, caused by prolonged closure of wings.
They drill out holes in dead or rotten trees for the nest. The clutch consists of 4-7 glossy white eggs, which are rounded at both ends.
Insects, primarily ants, which are captured by a rapid outward flick of the long tongue, gummed to its tip by sticky saliva. Birds from this species can often be seen searching for and eating ants on the ground (a behaviour shared by several other woodpeckers, including other green woodpeckers, wrynecks, and flickers).
Call: A loud plue, plue, plue, which sounds like a laugh, or "yaffle", from which it gets the country name. The alarm call is a truncated variant of the advertising call.
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