Wildlife in Italy: Green Woodpecker Picus viridis

Wildlife in Italy: Green Woodpecker Picus viridis

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Systematic classification and distribution

Class: Birds
Order: Piciformes
Family: Picidae
Kind: Picus
Species: P. viridis

The green woodpecker is widespread throughout Europe, with the exception of the more northern regions. In Italy it occupies the plains, hills and even the mountainous areas of the peninsula up to about 1000 meters above sea level, rarely higher.
Four subspecies have been classified: Picus viridis viridis, Picus viridis karelini, Picus viridis bampurensis and Picus viridis innominatus.

Green Woodpecker - Picus viridis L. (photo

Green Woodpecker (photo Thomas Reich)

Distinctive characters

Average weight: 150-250 grams
Length: approx. 30 cm
Wingspan: about 50 cm

At the top it has a dark green plumage, on the back and low yellow back and on the lower parts green-light gray. The apex of the head is red, the face is black and 2 black stripes start from the beak towards the nape, red inside the male.


The areas frequented consist of groves inrcalate glades and open areas or deciduous forests; riparian forests are often used in some regions of the Alps. In these environments, however, trees of sufficient size must always be present to allow the excavation of the nest that takes place in the trunk of a plant of sufficient size.
However, the green woodpecker also nests in cavities already available, such as old nests of its own or of other peaks or native concavities of the trunks. The eggs, laid in a total number between 5 and 8, are incubated for at least 14 days and the young ones keep in the nest until the fourth week of life.
The green woodpecker feeds mainly on insects, sometimes also on berries, snails and earthworms, but above all on ants and larvae which it catches under the bark of trees. It has a shy behavior. Among all the peaks it is the one that most difficultly drums with the beak on the trunk of the trees; instead he often sings and it is his own voice, similar to a laugh, that reveals its presence.

Video: Green woodpecker at the bird bath Picus viridis, Grünspecht - Recke, Germany - July 10, 2020 (July 2022).


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