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European Green Woodpecker Is “Bird of the Year 2022”

Hungary Today 2022.01.06.

In the Hungarian Ornithological and Nature Conservation Association’s (MME) online voting last year, the European Green Woodpecker received the most votes, making it the 2022 Bird of the Year.

This article was originally published on our sister-site, Ungarn Heute. Translation by Júlia Tar.

In the summer 2021 vote, people could choose between the bluethroat, the purple heron, and the green woodpecker. Ultimately, the green bird won.

The green woodpecker is 30-36 cm long, its wingspan can reach half a meter. Its coat is dark green, while its belly is pale or grayish-green. It is widespread in large parts of Europe and the Near East, it feels at home in communities with old-growth forests, but it is also native to cities with trees. In addition to the classic insect larvae diet of woodpeckers, the green woodpecker specializes primarily in ants, which it extracts from the ground with its long tongue.

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They breed in the self-made nest holes and raise a clutch consisting of 5-7 eggs annually. The green woodpecker is considered a protected bird in Hungary, its value is 50,000 forints. Its population is estimated at 8-12 thousand pairs in the country, their number showing a slightly increasing trend. Its existence is threatened mainly by deforestation because of its way of life and reproduction. Its continued existence is also of great importance for the preservation of other bird species such as the European Roller, the Scops Owl, and the Hoopoe.

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Since the green woodpecker also feels at home in populated areas, bird lovers can welcome it throughout the year by means of “woodpecker garden solutions”:

The Hungarian Ornithological and Nature Conservation Association (MME) started the “Bird of the Year” campaign in 1979 with the aim of introducing such bird species and bird groups to the society, which are affected by the problems of nature conservation.

Sources: Index, Hungarian Ornithological and Nature Conservation Association (MME)

Featured image via Attila Kovács/MTI