Middle Spotted Woodpecker (Dendrocopos medius)




The Middle Spotted Woodpecker is only slightly smaller than the Great Spotted Woodpecker. It breeds mainly in deciduous woods with a certain percentage of old oak, hornbeam and elm. Also a good mixture of clearings, pasture and areas of dense wood must be available, to qualify for a suitable habitat. The Middle Spotted Woodpecker also loves deadwood either for foraging and, of  course, for breeding.


The Middle Spotted Woodpecker lives mainly on an animal diet consisting of insects and sap. It breeds in decayed and rotten trunks, also in thick branches.


The European breeding population of the Middle Spotted Woodpecker is rather small and estimated at 150,000 to 315,000 (excluding Turkey) breeding pairs, equalling >95% of the entire world population. The larges breeding populations in central Europe are in Germany, Poland and Hungary.


For more information please continue reading the bird facts on the Middle Spotted Woodpecker.


middle spotted woodpecker
Middle Spotted Woodpecker


Bird Facts: Middle Spotted Woodpecker


Breeding – Clutch – Measurements – Habitat – Food - Threats



Order: Passerines (Passeriformes)

Family: Picidae

Genus: Dendrocopus

Species: Middle Spotted Woodpecker


Scientific Name: Dendrocopus medius


Names and Synonymes of the Middle Spotted Woodpecker


Name in German: Mittelspecht

Name in Czech: Strakapoud prostřední

Name in Slovak: ďateľ prostredný

Name in Hungarian: Közepfakopáncs

Name in Croat: Crvenoglavi djetlić

Name in French: Pic mar

Name in Spanish: Pico Mediano

Name in Portuguese: Pica-pau-mediano

Name in Italian: Picchio rosso mezzano

Name in Dutch: Middelste Bonte Specht

Name in Finish: Tammitikka

Name in Norwegian: Mellomspett

Name in Danish: Mellemflagspætte

Name in Swedish: Mellanspett

Name in Polnisch: Dzięcioł średni

Name in Russian: Средний пёстрый дятел

Name in Greek: Μεσαίος Δρυοκολάπτης, Μεσοτσικλιτάρα

Name in Turkey: Ortanca Ağaçkakan, Ortanca Aşaçkakan


Distribution – Movements – Habitat – Behaviour


Distribution: The distribution zone of the Middle Spotted Woodpecker stretches across the west palearctic deciduous forest zone. Distribution stretches from northwest Spain, France and Belgium across most of central Europe and further eastwards to the Baltic states and Russia with the southern edge running along the Mediterranean to the Middle East and to western Iran.


Movements: The Middle Spotted Woodpecker is residential in central Europe. Migrating individuals mainly come from northeastern Europe.


Habitat: The Middle Spotted Woodpecker is strongly connected to coarse-barked trees. Nowadays it distributes in oak forests, hardwood meadows and alder marsh forests. We also find the Middle Spotted Woodpecker in parkland when connected to oak forests, villa quarters, rural orchards and secondary habitats.


Behaviour: The Middle Spotted Woodpecker is diurnal and much mor agile than the larger Great Spotted Woodpecker. Sleeps in tree hollows and also in nesting boxes. Feeding on trees and bark mainly by poking in bark and picking up from the surface. The Great Spotted Woodpecker is able to catch flying insects, feeds on dry fruits. It can be seen on ground looking for nuts.


middle spotted woodpecker
Middle Spotted Woodpecker




Food: The Middle Spotted Woodpecker mainly lives on animal food. During autumn and winter there is a higher percentage of vegetables in the daily diet. Animal food is mainly tree trunk and bark dwelling anthropodes, a certain percentage of acorns, hazelnuts, walnuts, beechnuts, stone cores (cherry e.g.) and occasionally even coniferous seeds. The Middle Spotted Woodpecker feeds its nestlings with fruit pulp of cherries; also it feeds on fat from sunflower seeds and hemp kernels.


Longevity: Middle Spotted Woodpeckers can reach an age of >8 years.


Mortality: no recorded data available.


Threats: Middle Spotted Woodpeckers are threatened by loss of habitat caused by forest work and also by loss of suitable deadwood, coarse-barked trees, destruction of hardwood meadows and lack of planted oaks. In southern central Europe the Middle Spotted Woodpecker is also threatened by the destruction or loss of orchards. Of course there are problems caused by climate change and by predators such as Sparrow Hawk and Great Spotted Woodpecker.