Monday, 6 December 2010

Lesser Spotted Woodpecker (Dryobates minor)

Latin Etymology: Dryobates ("woodland walker") minor ("small")

Adult female Lesser Spotted Woodpecker (subspecies D. m. comminutus) Geddington Chase - December 2010

Featured Subspecies: Dryobates Minor comminutus
Weight: 18-21g  /  Length: 15cm  /  Wingspan: 26cm
UK RED LIST / IUCN Red List: Least Concern

The lesser spotted woodpecker has a bit of a reputation for being difficult to see, despite it's wide distribution. It is much smaller than the greater spotted being on about the same scale as a sparrow, it's main distinguishing feature other than the size being the black and white barred back. It is best seen in the winter and spring by most accounts, on the basis that it is easier to see in the top of the trees when there are no leaves present. I must admit, I have no idea what is going on with it's taxonomy at the minute - while researching this page I came across three separate genus it was alternately placed in, so I've listed them all for the sake of then one at least will be correct.

Related Species:
Order: Piciformes
Family: Picidae
Genus: Dryobates
Subspecies: D. m. comminutus, D. m. hortorum, D. m. buturlini, D. m. minor, D. m. amurensis, D. m. kamtschatkensis, D. m. colchicus, D. m. danfordi, D. m. quadrifasciatus, D. m. morgani, D. m. ledouci  

- Sighting Locations -
UNITED KINGDOM - A scarce and secretive resident (1000-2000 pairs)
 - A single bird seen on Geddington Chase in December 2010 and again in April 2017.  


  1. A great photo considering the sheer difficulty most people have actually finding these rare and elusive little birds. I'm still waiting to see one, having heard one a few years back.

    Nice blog, and a nice idea.

  2. Thanks! I have to admit I just got very lucky, I wasn't even looking particularly, was on my way home from a largely unsuccessful trip and heard some tapping up a tree, I was expecting a nuthatch which I'm still trying to get a really nice photo of was and was very pleased and surprised to find this little fellow there.

    Taking photos in a slightly frantic rush incase it flew off before I got a decent one ensued but it stuck around for ages entirely ignoring me.

    Thanks again!

  3. Nice pic there Alex - sadly lesser peckers have gone awol from round here not seen one for years now heard yes but not seen.



  4. Yeah, definitely nice one. They're so rare these days.

  5. Hi Alex,

    I'm Joseph, one of the young birders from Birdforum. I've just come across your blog via Birdforum, and I must say, it's brilliant! I really like the idea of photographing and documenting every bird in the UK as a personal project; the sort of idea I wish I had come up with. I think you do it with great proficiency and skill as well - I really like how you categorise photos in terms of quality, how you've got a check list of birds from each family, how you colour code... all your categorisation techniques are carried out with enviable ease. Your photos are also pretty good, and Bill is right when he says your pic of the Lesser Spotted Woodpecker is great.

    Sorry to seem as if I'm pestering you at all, but I thought I'd alert you of my blog. I would very much appreciate it if you could 'follow', as they call it, the blog, and any comments about it in the blog itself would be much appreciated as well! The link is below:

    I am now following your blog, and I have also added it to my blog list so I can keep an eye out for any new posts. A very impressive project, well done!

    All the Best,

    Joseph Nichols