Cornish Biodiversity Network  -  Supporting Wildlife Recording

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Cornish Red Data (2009)

The descriptive text, below the map, is from the Cornish Red Data Book (2009). The map on this web page depicts the organisms distribution and shows the records made pre-2000 and those made since.

Dendrocopos minor - Lesser Spotted Woodpecker

Range & Status

Palearctic; in Britain at least 2000 pairs; declining.

Regional Distribution

Cornwall: scarce resident in wooded valleys in the east and south of Cornwall, rarely reported west of Helston. There has been a significant decrease in sightings since about 1970. In recent years reported most frequently in the Cotehele area of the Tamar Valley, Trelissick and Carnanton near Truro and the vicinity of Lanhydrock. Family parties at St. Germans (1992) and Nanstallon (1993) are the only cases of proven breeding since 1980. Isles of Scilly: absent.

Habitat & Ecology

Favours ancient woodland, parkland and orchards. In winter joins roving mixed species bird parties.


Loss of Oak Quercus spp. woodland; destruction of suitable dead trees for nesting.


Careful woodland management. This elusive bird is most easily located in early spring, when territorial birds ' sing' from high in tree tops. Listed (long list) as a globally threatened/declining species (BSGR, 1995).


I.J. Bennallick, S. Board, C.N. French, P.A. Gainey, C. Neil, R. Parslow, A. Spalding and P.E. Tompsett. eds. 2009. Red Data Book for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. 2nd Edition.Croceago Press.

The Cornish Red Data Book Project was led by the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Federation for Biological Recorders (CISFBR). The full text and species accounts (minus the maps) are available on the CISFBR website.

Cornish Biodiversity Network. 2017.