Body length: 21-24 cm
Wingspan: 32-35 cm
Body mass: 55-70 g (males larger than females)
Appearance: dark woodpecker with white stripe extending from back of neck to rump. Male yellow-capped, while female has grey top of head.
Away from mountains, this bird’s Polish range takes in the Białowieża and Augustów Forests, plus some localities in the Mazurian Lakes region. Spruce forests inhabited, with 80% of known nest-holes in trees of this species. Only occasionally among alders. Pairs work jointly on nest-holes, which are mostly in dead trees. Food comprises insects, especially larvae of spruce bark beetles (pests). Also engages in sapsucking. Typical feeding involves a spiral ascent of a barkless dead spruce. The presence of three toes is emphasised as most woodpeckers have 4. This bird is resident in Poland, and quite sedentary.
Descriptions drawing on content of Ptaki Polski (“Birds of Poland”) - a book authored by Andrzej G. Kruszewicz, and published by MULTICO Oficyna Wydawnicza Sp. z o.o.