Uncommon passage migrant; rare winter visitor. Not a typical woodpecker in that its colouring makes it totally camouflaged. Although seldom seen, it is widespread wherever trees and bushes exist during its passage through Kuwait.
Where in Kuwait
This cryptic bird has a preference for old trees, the chief requirement being a reliable source of ants, the birds’ main food. On passage, however, they can turn up almost anywhere and have been reported from gardens, woods, and coastal paths sometimes found feeding on the ground.
In the world
It has an extremely large range but the population has suffered a long term reduction in numbers and range since the mid 19th century in west and central Europe owing to increased rain during the breeding season caused by climatic changes and other reasons. It is distributed across most of Europe, into Russia and parts of central Asia. It is an unusual-looking bird, at times resembling both a large warbler and a small bird of prey. The alarm note is a hard ‘teck-teck’ sound, but the bird also hisses like a snake and can twist its head in a rather snake-like manner, hence its common English name.
Habitat loss and destruction, pesticides and shooting