Dietary base of white-backed woodpecker at Kočevsko
White-backed woodpecker is one of the most endangered woodpecker species in Europe. As well in Slovenia, the species is very rare. Crucial for the decline of species abundance are intensive forest use and consequently, the deterioration of nutritional conditions. In general, the knowledge of a diet of white-backed woodpecker is still deficient. Research shows that diet od white-backed woodpecked consists of both, animal as plant based food (fruits and seeds). During summer, white-backed woodpecker feeds on fruits and seeds more often. In this period, species does not nest. Contrary to most of the Picidae species, that feed primarily on ants, the white-backed woodpecker is a true nutrition specialist. It feeds primarily on larvae of saproxylic (bound to dead wood) and xylophagous (feed on wood) beetles. These species are, because of forest exploitation and deficient dead wood, one of the most endangeded. As a predator, white-backed woodpecker is indicator of forest ecostystem, as well as saproxylic and xylophagous species conditions.
For improving living and nutritional oppustinities of white-backed woodpecker, tree ringing and leaving dead trees in forest have proven to be successful measures. Measures should be carefully adapted to the local environment. The long-term preservation of white-backed woodpecker without the conservation of nutritionally important species cannot be effective. It is only reasonable to maintain biodiversity as a whole.
More about white-backed woodpecker diet at Kočevsko your can read in the expert report (SI).
PHOTO: Marjan Cigoj