Picus martius Linnaeus, 1758, Sweden. Two races recognized.
OTHER COMMON NAMES
French: Pic noir; German: Schwarzspecht; Spanish: Pito Negro.
17.7–22.4 in (45–57 cm); 9.2–13 oz (260–370 g). Crow-sized; black, pale bill, and whitish eyes; male has raspberry red crown; female a red nape; juveniles similar to adults, but duller, looser-textured plumage.
Cool-temperate Eurasia; from western Europe north to the Arctic Circle in Scandinavia and east to Japan and Kamchatka. D. m. martius, most of range except for southwestern China and Tibet; D. m. khamensis, southwestern China and Tibet.
Mature coniferous, mixed, or deciduous forest. A pair normally needs 750–1,000 acres (300–400 ha) of forest.
Resident; solitary or in pairs; spring drumming on resonant limb or stub is very loud and low in tone; climbs by “hopping” up a trunk or limb; flies with direct “crowlike” flight.
FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET
Feeds mostly on ants and their larvae and pupae, but also takes larvae of wood-boring beetles, occasionally other insects, nuts, and seeds, and rarely fruit.
Courtship may begin in January, but nesting is primarily late March to May; nest usually placed high in a large stub. About 75% of nests are in decayed but living trees. Clutch size 3–5 eggs; incubation lasts 12–14 days; young usually fledge at 27–28 days. Both parents incubate and care for young; young are fed by regurgitation.
Not threatened; many populations increased during the late twentieth century, though there were local declines associated with habitat fragmentation and loss.
SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS
None known, except as a symbol of “wildness.”
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