Species and habitat description

The grey-headed woodpecker can be easily recognized by its olive green upperparts. The males are even more noticeable because of their red crowns. This species prefers old mixed coniferous and oak forests with a high proportion of dead trees, because their nest is typically excavated into dead or severely damaged trees. The species is feeding on insects and seeds but mainly on ants, thus the species is connected to forests where ant hills can be found.

Major threats

The large-scale clearance of old deciduous woodland and conversion to coniferous plantations, resulting in habitat loss and isolation is a major threat. Changes in forestry practice are shortening the rotation period, resulting in the loss of potential nesting trees and a marked reduction in the time-span available for nesting. Habitat suitability for ants (mixed, open grove forest) declined thus driving declines in the species’s main food supply. (IUCN 2016)

Specific conservation action

The species can be found among others in the upper parts (12 ha) of Nagyoroszi project site (80 ha) of the DINPD. At this area we will maintain and create forest edges and small sunny glades (100-200 m2) by cutting down certain shrubs and by liberating the crowns of certain trees to provide suitable conditions for ant hills. This area will be fenced to exclude the damaging effects of games on the regeneration capacity of the forest. Thus the structural and compositional diversity is expected to increase in the area. We will also create 30-40 m3 per ha of standing and laying dead wood to provide suitable habitats for nesting and to increase the populations of food resources.



Related project areas


IUCN (2016) The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: Picus canus. BirdLife International, e.T22726503A86924320. http://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2016-3.RLTS.T22726503A86924320.en.