Woodpeckers in Western Norway: the White-backed Woodpecker is still the most common species
White-backed Woodpecker. Photo: Frode Falkenberg.


Western Norway, woodpeckers, pine-dominated forests, population densities

How to Cite

Sætersdal, M., Gjerde, I., & Heegaard, E. (2019). Woodpeckers in Western Norway: the White-backed Woodpecker is still the most common species. Ornis Norvegica, 42, 28-35. https://doi.org/10.15845/on.v42i0.2658


The pine-dominated forests of Western Norway have been found to harbour viable populations of woodpeckers, including the highly specialized White-backed Woodpecker Dendrocopos leucotos. The aim of this study was to investigate to what extent there were any changes in frequencies of woodpeckers, in particular the White-backed Woodpecker and the Grey-headed Woodpecker Picus canus, by resurveying 60 plots (each 1 km2) originally surveyed during 1994/1995. The resurvey was performed in 2013/2014. The White-backed Woodpecker was found to be the most common woodpecker species in both time periods. The Grey-headed Woodpecker was found to have a statistically significant decline from 27% of the 60 plots in 1994/95 to only 12% in 2013/14. The other four species all increased in frequency; although none of those increased frequencies were found to be statistically significant. We discuss possible explanations to why pine forests in Western Norway constitute a valuable habitat for the White-backed Woodpecker at the same time as it has drastically declined in other parts of Norway and Western Europe. In general, the reduced frequency of Grey-headed Woodpecker is not fully understood, although we suggest that cold winters during the years prior to the surveys in 2013/14 may be an important factor.


Articles published prior to September 2020 are subject to the following terms: https://boap.uib.no/index.php/ornis/copyright

Articles submitted from September 2020 are subject to the following terms:
Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution License CC-BY 4.0 that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.

Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.

Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work.

Bergen Open Access Publishing