Black woodpecker

Dryocopus martius

Black woodpecker, photo: Jussi Helimäki

Black woodpecker is the biggest woodpecker in Estonia. It can weigh about 300 g, which is more than three times the size of a great spotted woodpecker. Unlike other Estonian woodpeckers, they are coal-black and have a shiny back. A very large yellow-grey strong chisel-looking beak stands out in contrast. The male birds also have a beautiful red crown on the black background. They also look unusual because their head seems too big for the slender and long neck. Their wings have round tips. The black woodpecker often stays on semi-burned trees, where it is very difficult to notice them due to the colour of their plumage. They prefer to live in large coniferous forests, mixed pine forests, tall and sparse pine forests, clearings, and burnt woodlands. They live alone outside of the nesting period. They mostly feed on insects and their larvae, whom they pick up as they climb along the tree trunk. They destroy wood pests, which makes them one of the most useful birds for the forests. They are under protection (protection category III).