Family Woodpeckers (Picidae)

Least Concern

Ashy Woodpecker (Mulleripicus fulvus)


French: Pic fauve German: Celebesspecht Spanish: Picatroncos de Célebes

Picus fulvus

Quoy and Gaimard

, 1830,



Race wallacei fairly distinctive, with more extensive red on head, tail markedly blacker (more consistent with colour of rest of upperparts), and extremely subtle variation in proportions (marginally shorter-billed but longer-winged and longer-tailed); if vocally distinct, a case would exist for its specific separation. The two probably intergrade in Togian Is#R. Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • M. f. fulvus (Quoy & Gaimard, 1830) – N Sulawesi, including islands of Manterawu and Lembeh, and archipelagos of Togian and Banggai.
  • M. f. wallacei Tweeddale, 1877 – S Sulawesi, including Muna I and Butung I, and probably Togian Is.
  • Descriptive notes

    c. 40 cm. Large, long-tailed woodpecker. Male has dark red on forehead, lores, cheeks and malar area, red usually to central crown and front of ear-coverts, but often more... read more


    Laughing rapid “hew-hew-hew-hew-hew-hew” or “tuk tuk tuk”, muffled, not... read more


    Inhabits primary and secondary forest; prefers closed forest, but seen regularly in forest patches... read more

    Food and feeding

    Termites (Isoptera), caterpillars; presumably also other arthropods. In pairs, or family groups of up to 5 birds. Most commonly seen... read more


    A few observations and evidence from specimens indicate nesting in Mar–Aug. Nest-hole excavated in dead tree or in dead part of live... read more


    Probably resident.

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Not uncommon. Occurs in Manembonembo, Gunung Ambang and Tangkoko Nature Reserves, Dumoga-Bone, Lore Lindu and Rawa Aopa ­National Parks. In... read more

    Recommended citation

    Winkler, H. & Christie, D.A. (2020). Ashy Woodpecker (Mulleripicus fulvus). 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 29 January 2020).