Nest-site selection of the Syrian Woodpecker (Dendrocopos syriacus) in the agricultural landscape of SE Poland

Keywords: primary hole nesters, non-forest tree stands, nesting ecology, habitat requirements, bird conservation, Syrian Woodpecker; nest-site selection


This paper presents the nest-site selection of the Syrian Woodpecker in the agricultural landscape of SE Poland. For this purpose, 89 locations of trees with excavated nest cavities were characterized by comparing the parameters of nest trees and non-nest trees located in the immediate vicinity of the nests in 2002–2006. The study showed that woodpeckers nest in trees that are thicker and in worse condition compared to other trees available in the environment. The birds also nested very close to residential buildings, and chose trees for nest cavity excavation that had drying or pruned boughs and branches. Research indicates that the Syrian Woodpecker may be sensitive to loss of thicker (more than 40 cm in diameter), dying and older trees aged 40–60 years. In addition, it may react negatively to increasing the share of non-forest coniferous trees, which it does not prefer for nesting.