In brighter days of midwinter first woodpeckers start to drum in Estonian forests. Out of 9 European woodpecker species 8 breed in Estonia. Most interesting species for the birders from Western Europe are the Gray-headed, Three-toed, White-backed and Lesser spotted woodpeckers.
White-backed woodpecker is a common bird in Estonia. It inhabits mostly old forest with decaying deciduous trees, but can dwell also in younger wet forests. The territories of White-backed woodpecker are quite big and the birds are by far not so loud as Great spotted woodpeckers – thats why it is often difficult to discover.
The Gray-headed woodpecker is quite common, but dispersed species. Its loud spring call can be heard in river walleys, bigger parks and mixed forests.
The Three-toed woodpecker lives in old coniferous forests, preferring spruce. It peels bark off the dead spruces and pines in search of bark-beetles. Forest stands suitable for this species are still rare in managed forests, therefore it is much more common in protected areas.
The favourite habitats for Lesser spotted woodpecker are the riverside alders. It dwells also in a wide range of other deciduous and mixed woodland habitats. It is remarkably more common in island Saaremaa, where the White-backed and Three-toed woodpeckers are absent.