The great spotted woodpecker – Dendrocopos major is a medium-sized woodpecker with pied black and white plumage and a red patch on the lower belly. Males and young birds have red markings on the neck or head. This species is found across Eurasia and parts of North Africa. Some woodpeckers have a tendency to wander leading to the recent recolonisation of Ireland and vagrancy to North America. Great spotted woodpeckers chisel into trees to find food or excavate nest holes, and also drum for contact and territorial advertisement.
The great spotted woodpecker occurs in all types of woodlands and is catholic in its diet, being capable of extracting seeds from pine cones, insect larvae from inside trees or eggs and chicks of other birds from their nests. It breeds in holes excavated in living or dead trees, unlined apart from wood chips. Both parents incubate the eggs, feed the chicks and keep the nest clean.