Wild life and nature of Samos, Ikaria & Fournoi

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Syrian Woodpecker (Dendrocopos syriacus)


The Syrian Woodpecker is around 22-23 cm long, with a wingspan between 34-39 cm. It seems slimmer, but not shorter in length, than the Great Spotted Woodpecker (Dendrocopos major).From the rear the head and neck seem slimmer and longer due to the single vertical black stripe which runs downwards from the crown to the mantle. Syrian Woodpecker is a typicalDendrocoposwoodpecker with mostly black upper-parts, mostly pale under-parts, a black and white head, black wings barred with white, large white oval scapular patches and a pink vent and under-tail coverts.The mechanical drumming that advertises the presence of the Syrian Woodpecker, produced by its strong bill on a tree is a signal of either sex.The woodpecker usually alights on the trunk, working upwards, tapping the bark, breaking fragments but often extracting prey with the tip of its sticky tongue.


It is an inhabitant of open woodlands, cultivation with trees and scrubs, and parks, depending for food and nesting sites upon old trees.


Insects, moths, beetles and larvae; when insects are scarce they eat seeds and berries. They can also include bees such as large carpenter bees.

Protection status

This species is listed as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List.

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