It is rare to have so many different species of woodpecker living in such large numbers at close quarters as they do here in Hainich National Park.
Woodpeckers do fascinating things when hunting insects and building cavity nests. With up to 20 pecks per second they work their way into the wood in order to extraxt insects with their long, thin tongue. Their crescent-shaped talons, special leg tendons and muscles as well as the stiff, wedge-shaped tail give them exceptional grip also on smooth trunks.
Woodpeckers love old natural forests with lots of deadwood. They find plenty of food in the decayed wood and under the brittle bark of dead trees. If you want to see the loner, you are sure to have success in the core area of the national park in the hours of early morning. The unique atmosphere of the morning in the forest compensates early birds. The most famous and most common of the woodpeckers living in the national park is the great spotted woodpecker. Completely atypical of her breed in looks, migration pattern and habitat is the wryneck. The rare lesser spotted woodpecker is inconspicuous and small like a sparrow. The green woodpecker and the grey-headed woodpecker are far easier to spot thanks to their size and loud call. Green woodpeckers feed their young about 12 kg of ant eggs. The largest and sturdiest woodpeckers in the national park – the black woodpecker – is one of the largest woodpeckers on earth.
Of the seven woodpecker species that live in the national park, the middle-spotted woodpecker is especially remarkable. The black-and-white bird with the red cap finds his food in the large cracks in the bark of deciduous trees. There are around 60 – 70 breeding pairs in Hainich National Park. In the easern half of the national park, especially so near the walking paths around the Thiemsburg, the lesser-spotted woodpecker can be seen most frequently. You can find other species of woodpecker along the walking paths Sulzrieden, Sperbersgrund and Saugraben and by the orchard meadows at the ramblers' car park "Fuchsfarm".
Several woodpecker species communicate via their drumming on hollow trees and trunks. That system works particularly well in the cathedral-like old beech forest stands.