Identification: The large size, black plumage and large floppy wings can give an immediate impression of a crow but the pointed tail and, particularly, the pointed head held high as it flies should tell you that this is a woodpecker. The males and juveniles both have long narrow red crowns but on the adult females this is restricted to a little red patch at the back of the head.
Habitat: Breeds and winters in mature, mostly coniferous woodland.
Distribution: Has been claimed in Britain on a number of occasions although never officially accepted by the Records Committee.
Widespread in much of Europe. Their loud calls make them one of the easier woodpeckers to find. Good sites include the Lac de Foret d'Orient (France), the Hoge Veluwe (Holland), the Hohe Wand and Marchegg (Austria) and the Aggtelek Hills (Hungary), to name just a few.
Population: Up to 270 000 breeding pairs, widespread in much of Europe.