Grey-headed woodpecker

Nesting in aspen holes

Grey-headed woodpecker, photo Antti Koli

The grey-headed woodpecker (Picus canus) is similar in colour to the European green woodpecker. However, there is little risk of mixing up the two species in Helsinki, as the closest European green woodpeckers can be found nesting in the oak trees of Estonia.

The grey-headed woodpecker rarely nests in Helsinki, preferring large, rural areas instead. They are, however, occasionally seen in Östersundom, Haltiala and Uutela, and especially heard, as they sound their wailing and whistling calls in the spring. Sometimes their calls can also be heard in the autumn.

Grey-headed woodpeckers often visit bird feeders and can become quite tame in yard areas, but in forests they are difficult-to-spot lurkers. In winter 2016−17, a pair of grey-headed woodpeckers was spotted in Seurasaari.