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British Bird of the Month: Great Spotted Woodpecker

Characteristics

The Great Spotted Woodpecker is about the size of a Starling, making it much bigger than its close rarer relative the Lesser Spotted Woodpecker which is more sparrow-sized. Found throughout the UK except for northern Scotland, and now slowly re-colonising Ireland.

The only difference between the sexes is a red patch on the nape of the male. Their stiff tail feathers are used as a prop when it is clinging to a tree, and with two forward and two reverse facing toes they have good grip. They have a very undulating flight.

Male Great Spotted Woodpeckers will ‘drum’ its bill on a branch for a few seconds of  8-12 beats and fading away at the end.

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British Bird of the Month: Goldfinch

Characteristics

This small finch is strikingly colourful with a bright red face, golden brown body and bright yellow wing bars. It is noticeably more slender and dainty than its chaffinch and greenfinch relatives. They have a delightful liquid twittering song and call which is what usually first attracts you to their presence.

They can be found where there are scattered bushes and trees, rough ground with thistles and other seeding plants. They are year round residents, but are absent from the extreme north-west. They are even now common in Australasia after being introduced by settlers.

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