Great Spotted Woodpecker is the most abundant and widespread European woodpecker species, and it thus contributes the most to the number of excavated tree holes — an important habitat resource for secondary hole users. However, majority of nest site characteristics data comes from boreal and temperate forests, with lack of information from Southern Europe. In this article, nest sites of the Great Spotted Woodpecker have been investigated in the continental forests of Croatia — a previously understudied area of this species' range. A total of 41 active nest-holes found in the breeding seasons 2003 and 2004 are described. Nest-holes were mainly positioned below the crowns, in injuries of branch abscission. Nesting tree species were not used randomly: wild cherry Prunus avium in hill and pedunculate oak Quercus robur in riverine forests were preferred while hornbeam Carpinus betulus and maples Acer sp. were avoided. While tree species used for nesting vary across the Great Spotted Woodpecker range, and thus cannot be used as a uniform nest site predictor, defected wood spots on a tree, like scars of branch abscission, are identified as an important nest site clue and a habitat feature that is spatially more consistent. Nestholes' dimensions acquired in this research could not be clearly differentiated from those given for the other parts of the continent.
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Vol. 62 • No. 2