This study was carried out in Rome city from 1991 to 1999. In a total of 47 urban parks and suburban woods, 22 wooded areas were occupied by Great Spotted Woodpeckers during the breeding period. All woods greater than 50 ha in area were occupied by woodpeckers. On a five year scale, territorial stability was positively correlated with woodland size. The requirement of wooded area per territory was slightly higher in urban parks (6.7 ± 2.7 ha, n = 10 wooded areas) than in suburban woods (5.7 ± 1.3 ha, n = 5), and was negatively correlated to the vegetation cover. The area of woodland per territory in Rome was higher than in neighbouring deciduous oak woods. This suggests that urban habitats are of inferior quality for breeding Great Spotted Woodpeckers, probably owing to features of their vegetation and their isolation from other woodland patches. Maintaining mature stands of natural vegetation with old and dead trees in larger urban parks could be useful to encourage the occurrence of Great Spotted Woodpecker in cities.
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Vol. 36 • No. 1