While the Japanese Pygmy Woodpecker is one of the most common woodpeckers found in gardens and parks, it is found only in Japan and neighboring countries.
It often goes unnoticed because it is as small as a sparrow, has a brownish color similar to that of a tree trunk and likes to stay on branches. However, its “Gee” call is very easy to recognize.
It is hard to see amongst thick foliage, but is not as cautious as a sparrow. If you manage to spot the bird before it notices you and are careful not to startle it, you can even watch it up close.
Play birds singing
Since the 1980s, The Japanese Pygmy Woodpecker began appearing in such urban areas as Tokyo. It is unclear why they started appearing in these areas, but it is thought to be because the number of weaker trees is increasing as the trees mature.
Woodpeckers cannot live in thin trees or young trees. This is because they feed on the larvae of such insects as long-horned beetles, which prefer to live in the bark of large trees and old, weak trees. Additionally, woodpeckers bore holes in the trunks of trees to use as nests for raising their young and as homes, and it is harder to bore into a thin or young tree. Sometimes they will bore a hole in a tree that looks healthy but at a part that has actually begun to rot from fungal infection.
Woodpeckers contribute to maintaining the biodiversity of forests by boring holes in tree trunks.
Larger woodpeckers, such as the Great Spotted Woodpecker and Japanese Green Woodpecker, which can vary from the size of a Gray Starling to an Oriental Turtle Dove, make larger holes. These holes are used by not only small birds, such as the Great Tit and Nuthatch, but also by owls, mice, squirrels and other mammals.
Decomposers such as mushrooms, molds and other fungi also contribute to sustaining forests. Wood-rotting fungi, in particular, such as shiitake mushrooms (Lentinus Edodes) and coriolus (Trametes versicolor), play a role in the decay of fallen trees.
The fallen leaves and fallen trees decomposed by bacteria and fungi, respectively, enrich the soil for plants, or producers, to grow.
The male has small red feathers above the eyes, but they are not always visible. They can be seen when the bird gets excited and the feathers on its head stand up.
This photo shows the Japanese Green Woodpecker. It is the second-most common woodpecker after the Japanese Pygmy woodpecker. It can sometimes be seen in green areas such as parks, but it is bigger than the White-cheeked Starling so needs a big tree to make its nest.