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Middle Spotted Woodpecker

Leiopicus medius

CONSERVATION STATUS.

The population of Middle Spotted Woodpeckers in Armenia faces moderate decline, which is mainly caused by unsustainable forestry practices, which includes logging, urbanization, and snag removal. The decline was obviously steeper in 1990-s, however continues until now, as the forestry management practices are changing slowly.

HABITAT.

Middle Spotted Woodpeckers occupy deciduous forests in good conditions. The tree composition is not very important as it inhabits beech-dominated and oak-hornbeam dominated forests. Existence of mature trees appears to be more essential for the species. 

FEEDING BEHAVIOR.

As many other woodpeckers, the Middle Spotted Woodpecker mainly obtains larvae of insects from under tree bark or free living. In winter, when the bird moves to lowlands it also often visits old orchards, where feeds on fruits, left on the trees. Also in winters the species sometimes feeds on pine cones, which found at the plantations.

 

EGGS.

4-8, usually 5-6. White. Incubation takes place by both sexes during 11-14 days; the nestlings stay in the nest about 20-26 days. Mid-Apr to beginning of May.

YOUNG.

The fledglings are accompanied by parents for 8–11 days, and then the dispersion begins.

DIET.

The food contains mostly on bark-dwelling arthropods, caterpillars, dipterans, aphids, as well as some plant material; no wood-boring larvae. Small beetles and ants predominate in adult food, while nestlings fed with caterpillars, bugs, lice, beetles, hymenopterans and dipterans, as well as arachnids. Plant material taken mainly in winter, but fruits (cherries, plums, grapes) sometimes eaten during breeding season and even fed to nestlings; in winter, nuts (acorns, hazel nuts, walnuts, beech, rarely seeds of conifers) of some importance.

NESTING.

The Middle Spotted Woodpeckers first breed at second calendar year. The nest is a cavity, excavated by both sexes on the tall trees; sometimes the nest are put up to 20 m, but mostly at 5–10 m, in trunk or in larger branch of deciduous tree, mainly in dead or decaying wood; the cavity depth makes about 35 cm; the species frequently reuses the old holes. Making the nest takes 8–20 days.

MIGRATION.

In Armenia the species is residential, however it makes some vertical movements from deciduous forests to riparian woodlands, city parks, and orchards.

DISTRIBUTION.

The middle spotted woodpecker occurs only in Europe and southwest Asia. The Caucasus is inhabited by subspecies caucasicus.

CONSERVATION MEASURES.

The species is evaluated as Least Concern in IUCN Red List and for the Red Book of Animals of Armenia (2010). The Middle Spotted Woodpecker is not included in CITES and Bern Convention. The species mostly suffers from non-sustainable logging practices. In other areas it suffers due to urbanization, which touches the forest areas. Some areas, like Dilijan National Park and Zangezur Biosphere Complex support in protection of the forests, while the forestry enterprises should revise their general approach, which should take into consideration logging practices and introduction of non-timber forest production including the wildlife tourism.

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