The lesser spotted woodpecker (Dryobates minor) is the smallest woodpecker in Europe – roughly the same size as a sparrow. The male is black and white, with a red crown cap, the female is plain black and white. Both have a distinctive white ladder marking down their black back. Its drumming is much quieter and less vigorous than that of the Great Spotted Woodpecker. It prefers to build nests on old trees as dead wood echoes better. the lesser spotted can be found as far east as Japan. There is a small and isolated population in north-east Algeria and north-west Tunisia, the only breeding area in Africa. Its North American equivalent is the downy woodpecker, which is a similar size and colouration.