The Black woodpecker is a large woodpecker that is almost totally black except for the red markings on rear part of the crown. The most important food for the species are carpenter ants (Camponotus) which it digs out of decayed spruces.
The Black woodpecker is found both in the coniferous, deciduous and mixed forests in continental Europe and Asia. It makes its nesting hole high in the trunk of the sturdy tree. Old growth forests are important for the livelihoods of the species and they are usually found at least from some parts of the species large territory.
In the Finnish folk tales, the appearance of the Black woodpecker in the yard is a bad omen. If the Black woodpecker comes to hack the walls of the house someone living in that house will die. The Black woodpecker has been used to aid folk medicine. Picking your teeth with the toothpick made from the tongue of the Black woodpecker was supposed to make the toothaches to go away. According to an old believes colic and other domestic animals health problems could be cured by giving sick animals to drink alcohol that had some dried Black woodpecker in it.
Because the Black woodpecker gets its food from decayed trees, increasing the amounts of the decayed trees in the forests has benefitted it. Large aspens that are left in the forests to increase biodiversity are perfect for the Black woodpecker’s nest holes.
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