Body length: 24-28 cm
Wingspan: 38-40 cm
Body mass: 100-110 g
Appearance: Poland’s largest black-white-and-red woodpecker with black shoulders, heavily-barred back and white rump. Males have red caps, females black.
An uncommon inhabitant of eastern and southern Poland, only seen more readily in the Białowieża and Augustowska Forests. Demanding in terms of habitat, in lowlands requiring marshy alder and birch forest with plenty of deadwood (both standing and lying). Most often excavates nest-holes in alders. Feeds on larvae extracted from soft, rotted wood by systematic chipping at bark, trunk and branches. Tree-trunks (including lower parts) therefore take on a “mined” appearance. A resident species resembling the great spotted woodpecker, but lacking large white shoulder patches.
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.