Family Woodpeckers (Picidae)

Least Concern

African Piculet (Verreauxia africana)


French: Picumne de Verreaux German: Graubauch-Mausspecht Spanish: Carpinterito africano

Sasia africana

J. P. Verreaux and J. B. É. Verreaux

, 1855,



Differs from all other picids in having only eight (rather than ten) rectrices. Fairly close to Sasia. Monotypic.


S Cameroon and SW Central African Republic E to SW Uganda (Bwamba Forest), S to NW Angola (S to Cuanza Norte, N Lunda Norte) and SC & SW DRCongo; a few isolated records in recent decades from Liberia, Ivory Coast and Ghana indicate existence of small population in forests of Upper Guinea#R#R#R.

Descriptive notes

9–10 cm; 7–10·5 g. The only African piculet; appearance might initially recall a crombec (Sylvietta). Male has chestnut to rufous forehead, olive-... read more


Weak high trill, “ti-ti-ti-ti-ti-ti” or piercing, sunbird-like “see-see-see-see-... read more


Inhabits humid forest, mainly in ecotone between primary and secondary growth, also gallery forest... read more

Food and feeding

Principal food made up of wood-boring beetle larvae; also consumes adult beetles and other insects, but appears not to take ants. Commonly... read more


Laying dates span Jun–Feb; juvenile collected in Mar in Angola. Nest excavated 1–5 m above ground in narrow branch, entrance 2... read more


Essentially resident. Several records from Upper Guinea, including two from Liberia, three from... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Locally common, e.g. in parts of Gabon; common in Bwamba Forest in Uganda; not uncommon in Angola. Occurs at Mount Kupé and in... read more

Recommended citation

Winkler, H., Christie, D.A. & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). African Piculet (Verreauxia africana). 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 on 28 January 2020).