Compared to other woodpeckers these species do not normally drum on trees, but prefer to find their food on the ground, eating ants.
Although the European green woodpecker is shy and wary, it is usually its loud calls, known as yaffling, which first draw attention. It 'drums' rarely (a soft, fast roll), but often gives a noisy kyü-kyü-kyück while flying. The song is a loud series of 10-18 'klü' sounds which gets slightly faster towards the end and falls slightly in pitch. The female makes a thinner pü-pü-pü-pü-pü-pü-pü. The flight is undulating, with 3–4 wingbeats followed by a short glide when the wings are held by the body.