Amaze-wing Facts About The Lesser Spotted Woodpecker

Check out these Lesser-spotted woodpecker facts.

As the name suggests, Woodpeckers are instantly recognized by the eccentric vertical position in which they peck on trees and wooden poles, but how much do you know about these sublime creatures? Let's take a look at the Lesser-spotted woodpecker.

The Lesser-spotted woodpecker is the smallest species of woodpecker found across vast regions of Europe and Asia. They are non-migratory birds and reside in their territory throughout the year. They are often in the boreal and temperate forest habitat. In England and Wales, they are found on the alder trees. It feeds on insects in the same way as the Great Spotted Woodpecker does. When it's in search of food, it fragments at the rotten wood for finding the wood-boring larvae. The litters at the bottom grounds of the tree signify that the pests are attacking the tree's upper branches.

These interesting Lesser-spotted woodpecker facts have raised curiosity even among experienced birders! Read more to know about the Lesser-spotted woodpecker and other woodpecker species like pileated woodpecker and red-headed woodpecker.

Lesser Spotted Woodpecker

Fact File

What do they prey on?

Larvae, insects, sunflower seeds, suet fats

What do they eat?


Average litter size?

4-8 eggs

How much do they weigh?

0.6-0.9 oz (17-25 g)

How long are they?

5.5-6.5 in (14-16.5 cm)

How tall are they?


What do they look like?

Black, white

Skin Type


What are their main threats?

Birds, Coyotes, Foxes, Hawks, Bobcats, Snakes

What is their conservation status?

Least Concern

Where you'll find them

Temperate forest, boreal forest, woodlands


Europe, Asia





Scientific Name

Dryobates minor





Lesser Spotted Woodpecker Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a lesser spotted woodpecker?

The Lesser spotted woodpecker is a bird.

What class of animal does a lesser spotted woodpecker belong to?

It belongs to the class Aves and is a member of the family Picidae.

How many are there in the world?

In 2017, the UK population of the Lesser-spotted woodpeckers was only around 2000. It was known to have decreased to half since 2009. Woodland destruction is thought to be the main reason for its decline. The continuous destruction could lead to a decline of these birds in the future.

Where does a lesser spotted woodpecker live?

The Lesser spotted woodpeckers live in the open woods, deciduous woods, parkland, orchards, woodland towns, and gardens. This species has an extensive range. They are abundantly distributed in Europe and Asia. In the UK, the highest population density lives south of England and Wales. They are found in Yorkshire and Lancashire in the north of England. Also, a small population of Least spotted woodpeckers live in the north of Tunisia and the north-eastern side of Algeria.

What is a lesser spotted woodpecker's habitat?

You can spot the Lesser-spotted woodpecker in the wildlife, woodland regions, parkland, orchards, and gardens on the top of trees. They are often in search of small wood-boring creepy crawlers for food. In England and Wales, it is often found in the alder trees.

In terms of habitat, they are frequent visitors to the top of open aged deciduous trees. But, they build their nest at the height of 30-40 ft close to the top of the trunks of the trees. It crawls along the thin dead branches of the living trees from autumn to spring, mostly in search of larvae. Throughout the breeding season, the insects living on the surface of foliage and the bark of trees make up the diet. The nestlings are fed with these surface-living insects like larvae and aphids. At night it cozily sleeps in its nest holes.

Who do lesser spotted woodpeckers live with?

The Lesser woodpecker birds live alone or in pairs. They are usually found in pairs during the breeding season and build their nest together. Their behavior varies from being highly anti-social and aggressive towards their kind to those living in groups.

How long does a lesser spotted woodpecker live?

The average lifespan of the Lesser-spotted woodpecker is 11 years.

How do they reproduce?

The breeding season starts in May. Their nesting hole is usually bored in the soft decaying trees. Sometimes they bore a hole even in the branch of a tree. Both the coupling pairs are responsible for boring a hole. The length of a single nesting hole is around 1.18 inches in diameter, which leads to an extended chamber.

A single clutch size comprises four to six eggs. These eggs are very thin-shelled, white, and glossy. Both the sexes are responsible for incubating the eggs for 14 days. At night, the males usually sit on the eggs. Both the sexes feed their young ones with insects brought in the bill. The young ones leave their nest after three weeks.

What is their conservation status?

In the Red List category, the conservation status of the Lesser-spotted woodpecker is the Least Concern.

Lesser Spotted Woodpecker Fun Facts

What do lesser spotted woodpeckers look like?

The Lesser-spotted woodpecker is the smallest woodpecker species with a body length of 5.5-6.5 in (14-16.5 cm) long. Its wing size is 9.4-11.4 in (24-29 cm). It weighs around 0.6-0.9 oz (17-25 g).

Its head is black and white. The throat, cheeks, and forehead are white. The wings and the tail is black with white stripes. The underpart is white. The male species have a red crown, while the females have an off-white crown. The lower back of both the sexes comprises black and white stripes.

With its habit of spending most of its time on the top of trees in the gardens, parks, wildlife, woodland towns, and orchards, it is often overlooked.

The Lesser-spotted woodpecker is the smallest woodpecker.

How cute are they?

The Dryobates minor is the smallest woodpecker. Its size is as tiny as a hedge sparrow. They are cute little creatures with shrilling calls and drumming sounds.

How do they communicate?

The Dryobates minor communicate with their vocal sounds. Their call is a shrilling sound of repeated 'kee-kee-kee'. But to declare their territory, instead of singing, they show their presence by drumming. The drumming sound of the Dryobates minor is quieter and more rapid than the Great spotted woodpecker.

How big is a lesser spotted woodpecker?

The Lesser spotted woodpecker is around 5.5-6.5 in (14 - 16.5 cm) length. The Sparrow and Lesser-spotted woodpecker are almost the same size. The Lesser spotted woodpecker is three times smaller than the Great spotted woodpecker.

How fast can a lesser spotted woodpecker fly?

The Lesser-spotted woodpecker flies slowly. Its exact speed is not recorded. They showcase a unique flying style, demonstrated in an undulating way. If you want to see them close, you can watch them crawl along the branches and hover from one branch to another.

How much does a lesser spotted woodpecker weigh?

The Lesser spotted woodpeckers weigh around 0.6-0.9 oz (17-25 g).

What are the male and female names of the species?

A female is known as the female Lesser spotted woodpecker, and the male species is known as the male Lesser-spotted woodpecker.

What would you call a baby lesser spotted woodpecker?

The baby Lesser spotted woodpecker bird is known as a chick.

What do they eat?

The food menu of Lesser-spotted woodpeckers includes insects, wood-boring larvae, and spiders in the wildlife, woods, gardens, and parks. The Lesser spotted woodpeckers frequently visit gardens to feed on sunflower seeds and suet fats. However, the Great spotted woodpeckers are found to eat even baby birds.

Are they dangerous?

No, the Lesser-spotted woodpeckers are not dangerous to humans.

Would they make a good pet?

Yes, the Lesser-spotted woodpeckers would make a good pet. But since they peck woods to build nests, you can keep them as garden pets rather than house pets.

Did you know...

The young birds of both sexes have crimson heads.

The Lesser spotted woodpecker bird chisels and digs the wood of old trees to search for tiny creepy crawlies living inside the trees.

The Lesser spotted woodpeckers are known to peck 20 times per second, which makes around 8000-12000 pecks per day.

What is the difference between the greater and lesser spotted woodpecker?

The Great spotted woodpecker is larger than the Lesser-spotted woodpeckers. The size of the Great spotted woodpecker is similar to that of a starling. It has a black and white back, two large white patches, and a crimson or red patch under its tail. The Lesser spotted woodpecker also has a black and white stripe on the back and wings but does not have two large white patches on the back and no patch under the tail. Its size is the same as that of a house sparrow.

Which is the rarest woodpecker in the UK?

The Lesser spotted woodpecker (Dryobates minor) is the smallest and rarest woodpecker in the UK. These woodland creatures are one of the declining bird species of the UK.

The Great spotted woodpecker is not rare and is found across mainland Britain.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other birds from our crane facts and falcon fun facts for kids pages.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable lesser spotted woodpecker coloring pages.



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