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Photo of the Week

The Great Spotted Woodpecker Dendrocopos major is often heard by its distinctive drumming and will conceal itself on the hidden side of a branch or tree trunk to avoid being seen. It has special adaptations to cope with the physical stresses of its hammering action, with which it uses to find insects, seeds and nuts, excavate nest holes and for territorial communication. The Great Spotted Woodpecker has the fastest drumming rate of any of the woodpecker species, at a rate of 10-16 strikes per second. As late as the early twentieth century it was thought that the drumming might be a vocalisation, and it was not until 1943 that it was proved to be purely mechanical.

Photograph by Peter Cairns

About Peter Cairns

Based in the Scottish Highlands, Peter Cairns is a conservation photographer with 18 years professional experience under his belt. Co-founder of Tooth & Claw, Wild Wonders of Europe and 2020VISION, Peter is now working on a long-term communication project: SCOTLAND: The Big Picture.

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