Lesser Spotted Woodpecker

The most uncommon of the three British species of woodpecker is the Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, they are  much rarer birds and can be very hard bird to see,  indeed they are usually high on the list of species that both bird watchers  and photographers want to see.  I have never seen a Lesser Spotted Woodpecker in Britain, and the images below were taken in Bulgaria where they were nesting in a small area used for growing crops and were oblivious to the people working and walking around them.

As well as being the rarest of the British woodpeckers, the lesser Spot is the smallest and when fully grown is just 16 cm long.  The summer population in Britain is thought to be around 2000 pairs which is falling, as a result it is a red data species and is fully protected by law.  It is also found in many European countries and is the smallest of the nine species of European woodpecker.  It is not found in Ireland or Scotland, but its range East is as Siberia, and Japan.  It is found across Scandinavia and south to North Africa.  They are a shy species and one of the main reasons for their decline is thought to be disturbance and loss of suitable forest habitat across Europe. 

The above images are of a male Lesser spotted Woodpecker, the red crown makes the male and female easy to tell apart.  The below images are of a female.