Green Woodpecker

Picus viridis


The green woodpecker is a large woodpecker about the same size as a dove. Green woodpeckers nest in holes that they excavate in trees in broadleaved woodlands, orchards, large parks and gardens. They can often be seen hopping about on the ground on pastures and lawns, looking for ants and invertebrates to eat but they also climb tree trunks and have barbed tongues to help them extract insects from crevices in the bark. Green woodpeckers have an undulating flight.

How to identify

Green woodpeckers are unmistakeable: olive-green all over with a red crown and black around the face. Males have a red 'moustache' edged by black but females have an all-black moustache.

Where to find it

Widespread, although absent from northern Scotland and Northern Ireland.


When to find it

  • January
  • February
  • March
  • April
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • October
  • November
  • December

How can people help

You can help to look after green woodpeckers, and many more of our common and rarer garden birds, by providing food and water for them - it doesn't matter if you have a big garden or live in a high-rise flat, there are plenty of feeders, baths and food choices out there to suit all kinds of situations. To find out more about encouraging wildlife into your garden, visit our Wild About Gardens website: a joint initiative with the RHS, there's plenty of facts and tips to get you started. To buy bird food or feeders, visit the Vine House Farm website - an award-winning wildlife-friendly farm which gives 5% of all its takings to The Wildlife Trusts.

Species information

Common name
Green Woodpecker
Latin name
Picus viridis
Woodpeckers, cuckoo and kingfisher
Length: 31-33cm Wingspan: 41cm Weight: 490g Average Lifespan: 5 years
Conservation status
Classified in the UK as an Amber List species under the Birds of Conservation Concern review.