249 Grey-headed Woodpecker
(Picus canus)


27-30cm. Between Green and White-backed Woodpeckers in size, but confusable of course only with former. Compared with Green, the head is slightly smaller and more rounded, this reinforced by the slightly shorter and more slender bill (‘kinder’ appearance), the different, more uniform grey head pattern with less black around eye (only lores black) which is amber-coloured, the narrower dark stripe on chin-side, also red crown patch restricted to forecrown (male) or no red at all on crown (female). Back is moss-green (lacks Green Woodpecker’s yellow-green tone), underparts unvermiculated light grey (with hint of green), not yellow-tinged.


Breeds at medium and high elevations, as well as in certain lowland gallery forests. Occupies areas where both old, preferably mixed forests and open grasslands can be found. Not observed in most of the Great Plain. Resident, but might appear in open woodlands and windbreaks on lowlands primarily between October and March.

249 Grey-headed Woodpecker pic

© Graphics by Szabolcs Kókay

Source: 1) Lovászi Péter (editor): Javasolt különleges madárvédelmi területek Magyarországon, Magyar Madártani és Természetvédelmi Egyesület, 2002; 2) BirdLife International:IUCN Red List for birds. Species factsheet; 3) Králl Attila, Nagy Károly: Fontos Madárélőhelyek Magyarországon (Területek, kritériumok és minősítő fajok) MME Monitoring Központ, 2007; 4) Szabolcs Kókay bird illustrations; 5) www.hungarianbirdwatching.com bird descriptions and checklists, 2004-2012; 6) Lars Svensson et al.: Collins Bird Guide: The Most Complete Guide to the Birds of Britain and Europe 2nd Edition, Harper Collins, 2010; 7) MME Nomenclator Bizottság: Nomenclator avium Hungariae. An annotated list of the birds of Hungary. Magyar Madártani és Természetvédelmi Egyesület, 2008