The scientific name of Eurasian Three-toed Woodpecker indicates that the species has only three toes. The species also differs from our other woodpeckers in that the adult male does not have red colour in his head but yellow. The area of distribution covers Eurasia and North America. In Finland, the species occurs throughout the country, except in the northernmost fell areas. According to current information, about 25 000 pairs of Eurasian Three-toed Woodpecker breed in Finland. The species is a sedentary bird, although in some years the young birds may migrate. In the autumn, these individuals can be observed, for example, by wood piles near harvesting sites.
Eurasian Three-toed Woodpecker prefers spruce forests with a lot of decaying wood. Both sexes drum with their beaks. Each year, the Eurasian Three-toed Woodpecker hollows out a new nesting cavity, so the species will help other cavity-nesters that cannot dig their own cavities. It is difficult to see females during the breeding season, but their ever-begging chicks easily disclose the location of the nesting tree. The main nutrient for the Eurasian Three-toed Woodpecker are beetle larvae, which it looks for especially in decaying spruces. Peeled spruce trunks are therefore a very sure sign that there are Eurasian Three-toed Woodpeckers in the area.
Text: Jukka Jokimäki & Marja-Liisa Kaisanlahti-Jokimäki
Read more about Eurasian Three-toed Woodpecker:
Listen to a Eurasian Three-toed Woodpecker knocking:
You can listen to more recordings of Eurasian Three-toed Woodpecker sounds on xeno-canto.org service.
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