Three-toed Woodpecker

Habitat: Riparian forestsDry riparian forest
Class: Birds

Three-toed Woodpecker

The Three-toed Woodpecker (Picoides tridactylus) is a characteristic species of subalpine spruce forests. It is about the size of a blackbird and has a black and white patterned plumage and the Wings are uniformly dark coloured. The Head plate of the males shines bright yellowwhile, on the other hand, the Females have a silver-grey crest has.

A special feature of this woodpecker species is the presence of only three toes, two pointing forward and one pointing backwards.

As a habitat, the woodpecker claims subalpine coniferous and mixed forests with old trees and dead wood. The three-toed woodpecker feeds on Larvae and pupae of beetles, especially those of the bark beetle. In order for the Three-toed Woodpecker to find enough food, there must be many dying, diseased and dead trees in its territory. A study in the Swiss Alpine region showed that a threshold of about 20 m³ (equivalent to a filling volume of 3 children's swimming pools with a diameter of 3.6 m) of standing deadwood per ha (equivalent to about 1.4 football fields) must be reached for this species to ensure its survival (Bütler and Schlaepfer 2004).

To get its food, the three-toed woodpecker removes pieces of bark with its beak. It often works on middle and lower trunk sections, rotting tree stumps or fallen wood lying on the ground. From spring to September, the Three-toed Woodpecker "rings" spruce trunks. This means that it hacks rows of holes in the bark with its beak to get at the tree sap.

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