The Green Woodpecker

The Natural and Cultural History of Picus viridis

  • Written by a leading authority on European woodpeckers.
  • Thoroughly researched with a detailed bibliography of international sources. 
  • Illustrated with many exceptional colour photographs.

    • birds
    • Coming Soon
    • ornithology
    • taxonomy


    This book describes the natural and cultural history of an iconic and unusual woodpecker – a species that nests in tree cavities but which forages mostly on the ground. The Green Woodpecker, known in folk English as the Yaffle, is afforded comprehensive coverage in this work, with information on its origins, taxonomy, anatomy, appearance, moult, calls, distribution, conservation status, habitats, movements, breeding, diet and relationships with other wildlife and humans all presented.

    The text is richly illustrated throughout with quality photographs as well as sound spectrograms. Many eye-opening observations of Green Woodpecker behaviour are detailed. This all-encompassing and engaging account has been written for a wide audience, whether professional ornithologist, citizen scientist, amateur birder, woodpecker aficionado and simply someone who wishes to learn more about this curious and remarkable bird.

    DOI: 10.53061/RYMI8301


    • A fascinating and compelling biography of one of the most charismatic of all European birds, written by the world expert on woodpeckers.
      —Stephen Moss, naturalist and author
    • Such a striking and characterful bird as the green woodpecker fully deserves a book of its own, and Gerard Gorman, an international authority on woodpeckers, does the species proud with this fascinating, informative and highly readable account of its natural history and place in our culture. Comprehensive in its detail and beautifully illustrated, the book explores the life of this intriguing bird, from its appetite for ants and complicated repertoire of calls to the physical adaptations that enable it to chisel out nest cavities in trees. The author’s expertise and experience in the field shine through as he celebrates the unique qualities that make the green-backed, bandit-masked, crimson-crowned, hard-staring, long-tongued, ground-feeding, loud-calling ‘Yaffle’ so special.
      —Charlie Elder, author of the RSPB's Everyday Guide to British Birds
    • No one else in the world could have written this captivating book, which combines biology, ecology, and culture in a way that situates the green woodpecker firmly in the fortunate landscapes it inhabits. Gerard Gorman writes with his usual grace and verve, making this not just a must-read but a want-to-keep-reading title for anyone interested in birds and their connections to the natural and the cultural world.
      —Rick Wright, author and ornithologist
    • World woodpecker expert Gerard Gorman has produced yet another beautiful monograph on one of his chosen species. Beautifully illustrated, well written and supported by an extensive reference list this is a great little book and a credit to the author and publisher.
      —Ken Smith, The Woodpecker Network

    About the Author

    Gerard Gorman is a global authority on the Picidae. He has published numerous papers and six previous books on this fascinating family of birds, including Woodpeckers of the World: The Complete Guide (2014) and The Wryneck (2022). For the past 30 years he has travelled the world studying woodpeckers, believing that time in the field is the only way to really get to know them. He lives in Budapest and is a founder member and current leader of the Hungarian Woodpecker Working Group. 

    Bibliographic Information

    • 224 pages
    • Colour illustrations
    • BISAC SCI070040, SCI087000, NAT043000