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Bird of the year in 2016 The woodland carpenter

The great spotted woodpecker (Dentocopros major) is the most common woodpecker in Switzerland. The secret to its success: its adaptability. The bird feels at home almost anywhere – maybe even in your garden.

In general you'll hear a spotted woodpecker before you see it. The bird prefers to knock and drum on rotting wood. Its pounding lasts around two seconds and consists of between 10 and 16 hits. The woodpecker's call is easy to recognise: it makes a loud "kick" or "kix" when it senses danger.

The male spotted woodpecker is the carpenter of the bird species. He makes a nesting hole before attracting the female with his hammering. His preferred building material is rotting wood, such as dead branches. His wedge-shaped beak, which resembles a chisel, allows him to hit the wood with strong blows.

(Text and picture selection: Rolf Amiet)



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