Family Woodpeckers (Picidae)

Least Concern

Bar-bellied Woodpecker (Veniliornis nigriceps)


French: Pic à ventre barré German: Bindenbauchspecht Spanish: Carpintero ventribarrado

Picus nigriceps


, 1840,

Palca Grande, Ayupaya, Bolivia


Member of the V. passerinus clade (which see). Race pectoralis poorly differentiated. Three subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • V. n. equifasciatus Chapman, 1912 – C Andes of Colombia S to Ecuador and N Peru (N Amazonas).
  • V. n. pectoralis (Berlepsch & Stolzmann, 1902) – Andes of Peru on E slope (S Amazonas to Junín).
  • V. n. nigriceps (d’Orbigny, 1840) – E slope from S Peru to C Bolivia (Cochabamba, W Santa Cruz).
  • Descriptive notes

    17–20 cm; 39–46 g (pecto­ralis). Male has red forehead to hindneck with black feather bases visible; very narrow short pale supercilium, dark olive-... read more


    Occasional soft “chik”, and high descending “kzzrr”; song up to c. 25 high-... read more


    Humid and wet montane forest, forest edge, stunted forest at tree-line and on mountain ridges,... read more

    Food and feeding

    Diet not recorded. Usually seen singly, sometimes in pairs, very unobtrusive; regularly in mixed-species flocks. Forages at all levels,... read more


    Breeds Feb–Mar in Ecuador and Apr–May in Bolivia; specimens from Peru with enlarged testes in August. No other information.


    Resident; whether any altitudinal movement occurs is not recorded.

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Uncommon in Colombia; uncommon generally in Peru; rare to uncommon in Ecuador. Occurs in Podocarpus National Park (Ecuador) and fairly common in... read more

    Recommended citation

    Winkler, H. & Christie, D.A. (2019). Bar-bellied Woodpecker (Veniliornis nigriceps). 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 8 December 2019).