Are Woodpeckers in Decline or Endangered?

Many bird species are unfortunately in decline or becoming endangered. The good news is that trend has not continued with the great spotted woodpecker or green woodpecker which have actually enjoyed periods of rapid growth in recent years.

The Lesser Spotted Woodpecker is unfortunately in rapid decline.

Here is some more information and a break down of each woodpecker and what their numbers look like today.

Great Spotted Woodpecker

Great Spotted Woodpecker numbers increased slowly between 1975 and 1995, then between 1995 and 2005 they increased rather rapidly.

It is estimated that there are between 130,000 and 150,000 breeding pairs of Great Spotted Woodpeckers in the UK today. That is nearly double the numbers seen in the 1970s.

The Great Spotted Woodpecker also never permanently resided in Ireland until 2008. It is believed they started populating Ireland from Britain.

Overall, long term, they have seen a rapid increase in population and are green or least concern status.

You can find more detailed information on Great Spotted Woodpecker numbers, demographics and statistical data here.

The Green Woodpecker

Increase in numbers of the Green Woodpecker are similar to the Great Spotted Woodpecker. It has experienced a large increase in population between the 1970s and recently.

In fact, the Green Woodpecker was moved from amber listed status to green status in 2015. A real positive.

There are circa 47,000 to 58,000 breeding pairs of Green Woodpeckers in the UK. Although it is not common to see one, their numbers are far higher than 20-40 years ago.

Lesser Spotted Woodpecker – A rare sight on feeders

Lesser Spotted Woodpecker

Unfortunately, the Lesser Spotted Woodpecker numbers have plumeted in recent years. Since 1970 the population has decreased by circa 83% and there are now thought to be fewer than 2000 breeding pairs left in the UK.

The bird is red status and is endangered, due to its rapid decline in numbers.

The reason for the decline is thought to be for a number of reasons, one being the rapid growth of the Great Spotted Woodpecker and Green Woodpecker population which dominate over the smaller, Lesser Spotted Woodpecker.

Another big reason for the decline is the loss of ancient woodland in the UK which the bird uses as its natural nesting habitat.

Work is being done to help prevent further decline, but there is little that can be done in your garden as sightings in gardens are very rare and probably only occur if you reside near a woodland.

3 thoughts on “Are Woodpeckers in Decline or Endangered?”

  1. We are in West Wales. We have breading pair of Greater Spotted Woodpeckers who have had two Male chicks. Amazing to see!


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