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Black Woodpecker

Dryocopus martius

Classe: Uccelli (Aves)

Order: Piciformi (Piciformes)

Family: Picchi (Picidae)

Dimensions: length 45-50 cm, wingspan 65-70 cm

Habitat: forests, especially broadleaf trees mixed with conifers, between 1,000 and 1,700 meters

Diet: it extracts insects from tree trunks, especially ants and larvae feeding on wood (xylophagus). It also eats berries and dry fruits

Reproduction: the mating season begins at the end of the winter and in April the pairs are formed and may even remain together for all their life. The nest is made in trunks, often of beeches, by digging 12cm-wide oval holes; 4-5 eggs are laid and brooded both by the male and the female; hatching occurs in June

Cubs: it is the father who assiduously feeds the chicks. He stays with them for the whole summer, even when they leave the nest after about one month from the birth

Curiosities: the Tengmalm's Owl reproduces in the nests abandoned by the Black Woodpecker, and mammals such as the dormouse or social insects can find shelter in them. It is a prey especially for the Goshawk

Notes: it is the largest European woodpecker, its size is approximately that of a crow, but it is easily recognizable thanks to its characteristic red crown; its characteristic call ("cri-cri-cri") or the pecking on tree trunks can be heard at a great distance

In the Park: until two decades ago, the Black Woodpecker was considered an uncommon species; it has recently increased in number and is nowadays widespread throughout the Park territory, also in small areas at the edge of the woodlands, where it can nest

More info
Black Woodpecker
Black Woodpecker
(photo by Ottorino Mazzucco)
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