The nesting preferences including both habitat and nest site characteristics of Syrian Woodpeckers in the agricultural landscape were assessed based on 69 nest sites described. Orchards were the preferred tree stand of the woodpecker, where 58% of its nests were located. The average diameter of tree in which the woodpeckers nested was much higher than the average trees available in territories (47.4 cm and 32.5 cm respectively). The condition of the nest trees was worse than the average trees present in the territories of the birds. Amongst Syrian Woodpecker nesting habitats, only orchards had a worse state of health compared to trees growing in groups, rows or forests. Apple trees Malus domestica with 43.5% of nest sites were also in worse health condition compared to willows Salix spp. (20.3% of nest sites), poplars Populus spp. and walnut trees Juglans regia. The average height of trees with nest holes was 11.3 m and the average height of nest hole placement was 4.2 m. The Syrian Woodpecker is an ecologically flexible species, but it requires trees with larger diameter trunks that are in poorer health as nest trees, such as, for example, apple trees or soft wood trees such as willows. The protection of non-forest tree stands dominated by these species and orchards, which are preferred by this bird, may be important to maintain the Syrian Woodpecker in the agricultural landscape.
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Vol. 51 • No. 1