Photos: Arne Ader
Nature sound: Veljo Runnel
With each passing day the early spring doings of woodpeckers become more active. Even black woodpecker pairs have been quite visible and audible at forest verges in places. In flight they emit a shrill drilling sound, the territory call is a loud cry, sometimes a series of cries. Drumming in the forest is loud and audible far off. “Sooty cock“, “nõgikikas”, is an Estonian folk name for the black woodpecker.
Black woodpeckers stay here the year round; pairs are forming now by and by. Outside the breeding season they lead a solitary life, always in large forest massifs – in conifer forests, pine stands, in clearings or burnt areas; we seldom meet them in that period.
It is a very large bird compared to other woodpeckers, more than three times as heavy as the well-known great spotted woodpecker. It has pitch black shining back plumage, the beak is powerful and yellowish-grey. The male bird has a red crown, the female just a small red patch at the nape; eyes are yellow with a black pupil.