Lesser spotted woodpecker

Dendrocopus minor


The smallest and least common of the three species of woodpecker found in the UK.  This species is most often found in the tops of trees where it creeps along branches in search of insects.  Its drumming is much quieter and less vigorous than the great spotted woodpecker, its presence often only given away by this or it's strident call. 

How to identify

Small in size, being not much bigger than a house sparrow, males are black and white with a red crown cap with the females being just plain black and white. They have a distinctive white ladder marking down their black back.

Where to find it

Open woods, copses, parklands and gardens in England. This species is abscent from Scotland and Ireland and is rare in northern England.


When to find it

  • January

How can people help

Local Biological Records Centres would be pleased to receive records of sightings of lesser spotted woodpeckers and erecting suitable nest boxes in appropriate places can also help. The Wildlife Trusts manage many habitats sympathetically for the benefit of all kinds of wildlife. By volunteering for your local Trust you can help too and you'll make new friends and learn new skills along the way.

Species information

Common name
Lesser spotted woodpecker
Latin name
Dendrocopus minor
Woodpeckers, cuckoo and kingfisher
Conservation status
Red list species as it has delined by over 50% in the last 25 years