Green Woodpecker
Green Woodpecker2

Scientific NamePicus viridus
Fledge Days21-24
Incubation Days19-20
Number of Clutches1
Number of Eggs4-6
Size30 - 36cm

Green Woodpecker Facts - Information About Green Woodpecker

Green Woodpecker - Picus Viridis

Our only ‘Green’ woodpecker and the largest of the three common species. The Green Woodpecker is our only Woodpecker that is perfectly happy feeding on the ground as you can see on the photo. Green Woodpeckers have a particular fondness for ants, and will search for anthills to feed at. Often called the Yaffle after its laughing song.



  • Adult males and females are very alike.

  • Green Woodpeckers are a full 4 inches larger than Great Spotted Woodpecker and close in size to Jackdaw.

  • They cannot be confused with any other British Woodpecker.

  • Adult upperparts, dark greeny brown tail, bright yellow rump.

  • Moss green back and wings.

  • Head, bright red forehead, crown and nape (full cap) which joins with the green back on the nape.

  • Black lores and eye surround.

  • Black moustache with red centre (in males) and solid black in females.

  • Head sides are pale grey as is throat, breast, chest and belly.

  • Undertail coverts are barred dark grey.

  • In flight the wings show a black and white chequered trailing edge.

  • Bill grey, legs black, eye white.

  • Unlike the other Woodpeckers the Green very rarely drums.


  • Juveniles appear from April onwards and are similar to adults.

  • Young birds show all the features of adults but it is coarsely marked.

  • The head, breast and belly are all streaked/barred black.

  • The green upperparts are dappled with white sots and barring.

  • Bill black, legs black, eye white.

Status and Distribution

The Green Woodpecker is a common breeding resident in the UK with over 50,000 pairs. The Green Woodpecker occurs in most counties throughout the UK, less numerous in Scotland and totally absent in Ireland.


Green Woodpeckers occur in deciduous and mixed woodland throughout the UK, woodlands, parks, gardens, indeed any open country habitat with suitable large trees.

Green Woodpeckers are very adaptable food wise and will take ants, larvae, Seeds and Fruit.


Several call notes; most often associated is a loud laughing ‘kla kla kla kla kla kla kla’.