Black woodpecker


Black woodpecker © Eero Haapanen

The black woodpecker (Dryocopus martius) leaves a trail of holes in tree stumps and the bases of tree trunks in its wake as it searches for beetle larvae and carpenter ants. In addition to being the largest woodpecker found in Finland, the black woodpecker also leaves the most visible marks in the forest landscape.

The presence of black woodpeckers is also reflected in the form of black nest holes excavated high up in the trunks of pine trees. In old pine trees, the large nest holes of black woodpeckers can remain open for decades. In the pine forests of Kallahti, old nest holes excavated by black woodpeckers are used as nests by common goldeneyes as well as softly cooing stock doves. Starlings, on the other hand, nest in smaller nest holes excavated by great spotted woodpeckers.

The black woodpecker is an eye-catching bird that calls out with a melancholy ‘kree kree kree’ during flight and with a shorter ‘klee-yee’ once it lands. The black woodpecker is a redhead; males have a red crown, while females only have red markings on the rear part of their crowns.

The black woodpecker is easy to spot and hear in our urban forests, especially in the autumn and winter, which is when young woodpeckers fly around. However, there are only a few nesting black woodpeckers in the city, as most of the local forested areas are too small for them.


Photo Jussi Helimäki.