In the years 2008-2012 we studied the nest-site characteristics of the Black Woodpeckers Dryocopus martius in the Varese province, in 3 study-areas in north-western Lombardy. The Black Woodpecker is a recent immigrant in our study area and in the surrounding pre-Alps; it selects wide-diameter trunk of mainly broadleaf trees, and the forest structure near the nest is significantly different from that of random spots within 500 m from the nest, with less dense trees of greater Diameter at Breast Height. We monitored 21 nesting events, of which 18 were successful and fledged 42 young, while 3 were unsuccessful; the overall fledging rate is 2,33 young/pair. The Black Woodpecker may be considered a habitat specialist for the nest site and habitat generalist in the home-range, with some territories very close to busy paved road and urbanized areas. From the original mountain sector, the Black Woodpecker expanded its range to the lower hill and, and, further south towards the plain, through the ecological corridor of the forests adjoining Lake Maggiore and the Ticino river.
Black Woodpecker, nest site, reproductive success, range expansion