Lesser Spotted Woodpeckers are found locally in northwest Africa and in Iberia and more generally throughout much of the rest of Europe up to northern Fenno-Scandia and south to Turkey and northern Iran, then across southern Siberia and central Asia to Kamchatka, north Japan and northeast China. It is essentially a resident species apart from the northern and eastern populations which are partially nomadic and eruptive.
    In the 19th century Lesser Spotted Woodpeckers were commoner in Britain than Great Spotted Woodpeckers but their numbers declined in the first half of the 20th century, probably due to the clearance of abandoned cider orchards (previously a major source of their insect food). Common Bird Census figures in 1979 showed a ratio of one Lesser Spotted to every four Great Spotted. By 1995 the ratio had fallen to one to 20 and subsequent BBS data  has shown this falling to one to 30.
    In Wiltshire in the mid 19th century Lesser Spotted Woodpeckers were considered to be commoner than Great Spotted, but by the end of the century this situation had been reversed. Scattered records throughout the 20th century suggested that numbers were stable or declining, though a constant theme that emerges from reports is that the species is elusive and numbers probably under-recorded.
    Birds of Wiltshire recorded Lesser Spotted Woodpeckers in 47 tetrads with breeding confirmed in only ten of them. By the timeof WTA2 these numbers had fallen even further, to the extent that the species is now regarded as sensitive.
The following references are used throughout these species accounts, in the abbreviated form given in quotation marks:
1968-72 Breeding Atlas” – Sharrack, J.T.R. 1976:  The Atlas of Breeding Birds in Britain and Ireland. T. & A. Poyser
1981-84 Winter Atlas” – Lack, P.C. 1986:  The Atlas of Wintering Birds in Britain and Ireland. T. & A. Poyser
1988-91 Breeding Atlas” – Gibbons, D.W., Reid, J.B. & Chapman, R.A. 1993: The New Atlas of Breeding Birds in Britain and Ireland 1988-91. T. & A. Poyser
Birds of Wiltshire” – Ferguson-Lees, I.J. et al. 2007 : Birds of Wiltshire, published by the tetrad atlas group of the Wiltshire Ornithological Society after mapping fieldwork 1995-2000. Wiltshire Ornithological Society.
Bird Atlas 2007-2011” – Balmer, D.E., Gillings, S., Caffrey, B.J., Swann, R.L., Downie, I.S. and Fuller, R.J. 2013: Bird Atlas 2007-2011: the Breeding and Wintering Birds of Britain and Ireland
WTA2” – ("Wiltshire Tetrad Atlas 2 ") the present electronic publication, bringing together the Wiltshire data from “Birds of Wiltshire” and “Bird Atlas 2007-11”, together with data from further fieldwork carried out in 2011 and 2012.
"Hobby" - the annual bird report of the Wiltshire Ornithological Society.