Family Woodpeckers (Picidae)

Near Threatened

Arabian Woodpecker (Dendropicos dorae)


French: Pic d’Arabie German: Araberspecht Spanish: Pico árabe

Desertipicus doræ

Bates and Kinnear

, 1935,

Ukadh, Taif-Mecca road, Arabia


Relationships unclear; previously placed in Dendrocopos or sometimes in Picoides. Recent molecular study#R included this species in Dendropicos, but with caveat that its “position remains unclear and subject to change”; it may be link between Dendropicos and Leiopicus, but further study required. Monotypic.


SW Arabian Peninsula in narrow band from just N of Mecca S to W South Yemen.

Descriptive notes

18 cm; one male 41·5 g. Male has crimson-red hindcrown and nape, olive-grey to brown hindneck; rest of head variably brownish to light grey-brown or dark brown, paler... read more


Common vocalization “pweek pit-pit-pit-pit-pit-pit-pit-ptptpt”. Occasionally drums,... read more


Inhabits riparian woodland dominated by Cordia abyssinica, well-mixed and dense... read more

Food and feeding

Larvae of wood-boring insects, fig wasps, and aphids and other winged insects recorded as adult and nestling food. Ants living in base of... read more


Mar–May, occasionally from Feb; possibly in Nov in Yemen. Nest excavated mostly at 0·5–6 m up tree trunk or limb in live... read more


Some seasonal altitudinal movements apparent; found down to lowlands in winter, and in summer at... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Currently considered Near Threatened. Generally rather uncommon, locally rare. Population small, estimated at c. 7500 pairs, which equates to 15,000... read more

Recommended citation

Winkler, H., Christie, D.A. & Sharpe, C.J. (2020). Arabian Woodpecker (Dendropicos dorae). 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 22 January 2020).