255 White-backed Woodpecker
(Dendrocopos leucotos)


25-28cm. The White-backed Woodpecker is slightly bigger than Great Spotted Woodpecker, longer-necked, with more angular head profile and longer bill. Vent light red, poorly demarcated, belly faintly tinged buffy-pink. Flanks streaked. Black band on head-side does not reach crown, leaves white ‘throughway’. Despite its name, white back can be hard to see, but at least in flight lower back is conspicuously white. Perched bird in side view told by white median coverts forming broad horizontal patch, broader than white remex bars. male has all-red crown, female black.


The White-backed Woodpecker breeds in small numbers in mature, closed forests primarily consisting of beech, woods on scree slopes and forests in gorges at high and locally at medium elevations. In the Northern Uplands breeds in the Zemplén Mountains, on the Aggtelek Karst, in the Bükk, Heves-Borsod as well as the Karancs, Medves, Mátra and Börzsöny hills and mountains. Less widespread in the Transdanubian Uplands (High and Northern Bakony, Vértes, Gerecse and Visegrád mountains). Its Hungarian population is stable, but its presence has not been confirmed in certain areas in the past few years. Resident in Hungary.

255 White-backed 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