Family Woodpeckers (Picidae)

Near Threatened

Amami Woodpecker (Dendrocopos owstoni)


French: Pic d’Owston German: Riukiuspecht Spanish: Pico de Amami
Other common names: Owston's Woodpecker

Picus owstoni


, 1905,



Hitherto considered conspecific with D. leucotos, but differs from morphologically and geographically closest form D. l. namiyei in its larger overall size, expressed by longer bill and wings (bill 40.5 vs 35.5, wing 158.5 vs 147, but n=2 for namiyei#R; allow 2); much less white in wings and tail (2); buffier face, chin and throat (1); black (vs black-and-buffy-white-streaked) lower breast sides and flanks, forming a more complete or complete breastband (3); paler (flame-scarlet vs crimson) crown of male (ns[1]); dull flame-red vs pinkish belly and vent (ns[1]). Monotypic.

What do (1) and (2) mean? Learn more about the scoring system.

Amami-Oshima (N Ryukyu Is).

Descriptive notes

25–28 cm. Male has pale buff-grey to whitish lower forehead and face, dark red upper forehead, crown and upper nape with some black streaks (variable), black lower nape and... read more


Low “gig”; series of “kyig” notes when alarmed. Drumrolls long, moderately fast.


Mature evergreen broadleaf forest; confined to hills.

Food and feeding

Specializes on larvae of large wood-boring insects; also takes adult insects. Singly, occasionally in pairs. Forages mostly on dead trees,... read more


Little information. Season probably mid-Apr–Jun. Nest-hole excavated fairly high up in tree trunk.



Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Currently considered Near Threatened. Rare. Estimated global population no more than 630 pairs; currently put in band 1000–2499... read more

Recommended citation

del Hoyo, J., Collar, N. & Christie, D.A. (2020). Amami Woodpecker (Dendrocopos owstoni). 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 21 February 2020).