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Great Spotted Woodpecker

Great Spotted Woodpecker
Photo Information
Copyright: Peter van Zoest (PeterZ) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5137 W: 166 N: 13121] (49139)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2012-11-29
Categories: Birds
Camera: Nikon D300, Sigma 135-400mm f/4.5-5.6 APO, Digital RAW
Exposure: f/1, 1/400 seconds
Details: Tripod: Yes
Photo Version: Original Version
Date Submitted: 2013-06-29 6:56
Viewed: 1973
Points: 48
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Made in my garden.
The software in my D300 is broken/out of order. So F-stop and Shutter Speed are not correct.

The Great Spotted Woodpecker (or Greater Spotted Woodpecker), Dendrocopos major, is a bird species of the woodpecker family (Picidae). It is distributed throughout Europe and northern Asia, and usually resident year-round except in the colder parts of its range. It is not considered a threatened species by the IUCN, being widely distributed and quite common.

The Great Spotted Woodpecker is 23–26 centimetres long, with a 38–44 centimetres wingspan. The upperparts are glossy black, with white on the sides of the face and neck. A black line zigzags from the shoulder halfway across the breast (in some subspecies nearly meeting in the center), then back to the nape; a black stripe, extending from the bill, runs below the eye to meet this latter part of the zigzag line. On the shoulder is a large white patch and the flight feathers are barred with black and white. The three outer tail feathers are barred; these show when the short stiff tail is outspread, acting as a support in climbing. The underparts are dull white, the abdomen and undertail coverts crimson. The bill is slate black and the legs greenish grey.
Males have a crimson spot on the nape, which is absent in females and juvenile birds. In the latter, the top of the head is crimson between the bill and the center of the crown instead.
Despite its contrasting plumage, the Great Spotted Woodpecker is often an inconspicuous bird. The large white shoulder patch is the feature that most easily catches the eye. When hidden by the foliage, its presence is often advertised by the mechanical drumming, a vibrating rattle, produced by the rapidly repeated blows of strong bill upon a trunk or branch. The drumming of this species is shorter than that of the Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, and fades away at the end. It is audible from a great distance, depending on the wind and the condition of the wood, a hollow bough naturally producing a louder note than living wood. The call is a sharp quet, quet.

It is an inhabitant of woodlands and parks, depending for food and nesting sites upon old trees. Its actions are jerky, and it hops rather than climbs, leaping forward with one foot just in advance of the other. When a space is crossed the flight is easy and undulating.
The food mainly consists of insects and grubs but also seeds, fruit, scraps, eggs, chicks and small rodents. The woodpecker usually alights on the trunk, working upwards, from side to side, but sometimes will perch in passerine style, when it sits well upright. During the ascent it taps the bark, breaking off fragments, but often extracts its prey from crevices with the tip of its sticky tongue. Beechmast, acorns, nuts and berries are eaten when animal food is scarce.
The nesting hole, neat and round, is bored in soft or decaying wood horizontally for a few inches, then perpendicularly down. At the bottom of a shaft, usually from six to twelve inches in depth, a small chamber is excavated and lined with wood chips. This woodpecker shows no marked preference for particular tree taxa, building its nest in gymnosperms and angiosperms alike.
Nesting trees chosen by this woodpecker almost invariably have soft heartwood and tough sapwood, often due to parasites or diseases that weaken the heartwood only. It is unknown how D. major finds suitable trees, though it is entirely possible that they do so by drumming, making use of the different speed of sound in materials with differing elastic modulus and density. Tree species which are rarely or never used for nesting might simply not have wood with the required properties.
The creamy-white eggs, five to seven in number, are laid in the second half of May. The young cluster at the mouth of the hole and keep a continuous chatter when the parents are feeding them, but when alarmed slip back into the hole. The nest hole is rarely used again, but not infrequently other holes are bored in the same tree.

Source: Wikipedia

josediogo1958, CeltickRanger, Hotelcalifornia, Hussain58, senn, ellis49, anel, Chiza, Alex99 has marked this note useful
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Critiques [Translate]

Boa tarde Peter
I've to visit Your garden my Friend :).Just great!!!Another enviable encounter.Perfect lateral super close,fantastic colours and details.Congrats!
Thank You
Have a good weekend!
Best regards

hallo Peter
Super mooie opname met veel details en goed van scherpte
Kleuren zijn weer prachtig
gr lou

Hello Peter

Excellent close-up photo of the Great Spotted Woodpecker
in its woodpecker typical pose, fine POV,
appropriate vertical framing, beautiful light,
excellent focus, sharpness, details, TFS


Hello Peter
What a photography of this beautiful bird.
Excellent color and details.
Great composition and BG.
Thanks for sharing.


Hello Mr.Peter,
Excellent one.What a sharpness!
Very good POV with nice details.I like its eye very much.Well captured.
Thanks for your great contribution here in TN,
Kind regards,

Hello Peter,

Hope you are doing fine friend. Nice to meet you after quite a while. What a shot! The light is wonderful as is the focus and the green background blur gives the woodpecker extra clarity and sharpens the colours of the bird which has given you an ideal posture. The photo has many merits, for the man behind the camera has many merits.....smile.
Thanks a lot for sharing, take care.

Warm regards,


  • Great 
  • senn Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 58 W: 2 N: 155] (1384)
  • [2013-06-29 11:27]

there are two couples attending my back garden too, .. fascinating birds they are .. well captured with great detail, pose and colour palette Peter, .. well done mate ..

regards, nuri :)

  • Great 
  • lousat Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 6595 W: 89 N: 15659] (65489)
  • [2013-06-29 15:01]

Hi Peter,beautiful capture whit fine details and perfect colors too,a great way to show us this specie in the best exposure too,i like it! Have a nice Sunday and thanks,Luciano.

  • Great 
  • tuslaw Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2754 W: 282 N: 4931] (19883)
  • [2013-06-29 19:35]

Hello Peter,
What a beauty, and captured perfectly by your camera. Love the rich colors and unique markings. Great composition and just the right amount of exposure to really show off this attractive little woodpecker. You are fortunate to have these guys living so close to your home.

hallo Peter
近拍的很清晰 也很美麗 構圖漂亮 謝謝分享

Ciao Peter, nice scene with lovely bird against a beautiful blurry BG, great captyure, wonderful colors, splendid sharpness and fine details, very well done, my friend, have a good Sunday, ciao Silvio

  • Great 
  • siggi Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3097 W: 109 N: 12399] (52850)
  • [2013-06-30 2:15]

Hello Peter,
pefect posing. Wonderful shot. Exellent work. Very sharp and exellent details. Well done.Regards Siggi

Hello Peter
A superb image with excellent detail, very good light and background, nice eye contact and setting.
regards yiannis

Hello Peter.
Beautiful capture of this Great Spotted Woodpecker.
perfect side view.
good colour and clarity.
nice composition.
best wishes.

Interesting bird and beautiful photo Peter! Nice pose, wonderful BG, fantastic colours and good sharpness.

Hello Peter,
this is a classic composition, very nice to view.
Perfect exposed. accurate white balance and sharp with fine details,
Well done, old friend.


Hi dear Peter ,

As always, your beautiful picture.
I'm very happy that I can look on your big and beautiful look in your nice pictures.
I'm looking at your beautiful pictures and enjoy the color, light and beauty.

Kind regards

Hello Peter,
Impressive capture,sharpness and details are remarkable.
Best regards,

  • Great 
  • anel Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 3053 W: 3 N: 8715] (40574)
  • [2013-07-01 5:51]

Hello Peter,
Great sharpness for this Woodpecker-picture. Nice to have this species in your garden. I like the way the bird looks at the photographer. Vivid and beautiful shot.
Kind regards

Hello Peter,
Excellent photograph of Great Spotted Woodpecker, excellent sharpness and details, excellent composition, excellent background and lighting.
Thanks for sharing,

  • Great 
  • Ishi Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 298 W: 21 N: 1943] (13387)
  • [2013-07-05 1:40]

Beautiful woodpecker, expertly recorded. I just miss its tail tip...

All the best,


  • Great 
  • Chiza Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 133 W: 0 N: 474] (5351)
  • [2013-07-05 14:50]

Hola Peter, que hermosa toma la de este Carpintero y en su jardín me parece muy afortunado. Me gusta la composición, el anejo de la luz y el contraste de todos los colores con el fondo...saludos.

  • Great 
  • Alex99 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 4072 W: 133 N: 7096] (23735)
  • [2013-07-06 4:06]

Hi Peter.
I dream to get such shot for years. However< till now I cannot imagine how to do it. My congratulations on so wonderful shot and so amazing quality. Fantastic reproduction of the fine features of the woodpecker as well as of the impressive trunk. Green BG is sweet for the main subject. Bravo.

  • Great 
  • IronM Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 144 W: 3 N: 345] (2608)
  • [2013-08-13 13:30]

Hi Peter,
what an excellent photo of this one of my favorite birds,
excellent sharpness for outstanding details,
great composition, lighting !
Well done !
Best regards !

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