Over the past month we have been enjoying watching a family of Great Spotted Woodpeckers on the feeders in the garden.  I usually think of woodpeckers as quite aggressive birds but it has been so nice to see them tenderly feed the youngster.  We call our family: the dad is Pecker Purves (my husband’s surname is Purves), the mum is Peckerina and the youngster is Piglet Purves.

Every year this scene prompts me to learn the difference between males, females and juveniles.  And then every year I forget.  So this year I have drawn it out because the absolute best way to learn anything is to draw it.

Here’s the rule:

  • MALES – bright red patch on the back of the neck.  Bright red under tail.
  • FEMALES – no red patch on the back of the neck. Bright red under tail.
  • JUVENILES – really bright red cap on top of head.  Pale red under tail.  Slightly less distinctive facial markings.

Easy as that!

Links to: my Great Spotted Woodpecker print (a female!) and my Woodland notebook which also features a woodpecker.

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