Family Woodpeckers (Picidae)

Least Concern

Ground Woodpecker (Geocolaptes olivaceus)


Taxonomy

French: Pic laboureur German: Erdspecht Spanish: Pito terrestre
Taxonomy:

Picus olivaceus

J. F. Gmelin

, 1788,

Cape of Good Hope, South Africa

.

No known close relatives (except perhaps Campethera nivosa and C. caroli). Races rather weakly differentiated. Montane Lesotho population sometimes separated as race petrobates; theresae (from W Northern Cape) subsumed within nominate. Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • G. o. olivaceus (J. F. Gmelin, 1788) – W South Africa S from W & C Northern Cape.
  • G. o. prometheus Clancey, 1952 – E South Africa from SE Western Cape NE to Mpumalanga, W Swaziland and Lesotho.
  • Descriptive notes

    22–30 cm; 105–134 g. Male has brownish-grey forehead and crown, browner nape often with slight trace of red, grey sides of head and neck, dark grey malar with... read more

    Voice

    Loud, harsh “peer, peer, peer” or “pee-aa-r-g-h” screams when flushed; loud... read more

    Habitat

    Open rocky terrain in uplands, including grassy boulder-strewn slopes and hillsides, open grassland... read more

    Food and feeding

    Highly specialized on ants, ant broods and alates; termites (Isoptera), beetles and other insects, and mites (Acari) also taken. Ants of... read more

    Breeding

    Aug–Sept in Cape Province and Transvaal; Jul–Dec, mainly Oct–Nov, in Natal. Single-brooded. In pairs or trios,... read more

    Movements

    Resident.

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Common in most of range. Its use of essentially unthreatened, often remote, habitats implies that species is probably secure in most areas, although... read more

    Recommended citation

    Winkler, H., Christie, D.A. & Kirwan, G.M. (2017). Ground Woodpecker (Geocolaptes olivaceus). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from http://www.hbw.com/node/56193 on 25 May 2017).