Family Woodpeckers (Picidae)

Least Concern

Bay Woodpecker (Blythipicus pyrrhotis)


French: Pic à oreillons rouges German: Rotohrspecht Spanish: Pito orejirrojo

Picus Pyrrhotis


, 1837,



Races intergrade in Vietnam. Two additional described races from NE India, porphyreus (from Khasi Hills, in Meghalaya) and pyrrhopipra (Manipur), both regarded as indistinguishable from nominate. Population in Sichuan (SC China) possibly a separate race; further study needed. Five subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • B. p. pyrrhotis (Hodgson, 1837) – Nepal E to SC China (S Sichuan, Yunnan), Laos and N Vietnam.
  • B. p. sinensis (Rickett, 1897) – SE China (Guizhou and Guangxi E to Fujian).
  • B. p. annamensis Kinnear, 1926 – highlands of S Vietnam.
  • B. p. hainanus (Ogilvie-Grant, 1899) – Hainan.
  • B. p. cameroni Robinson, 1928 – Peninsular Malaysia.
  • Descriptive notes

    26·5–30 cm; 126–170 g (pyrrhotis), 100–102 g (cameroni). Male has dull brown crown, short crest and nape with variable rufous or... read more


    Long, dry rattle of up to 30 “pit” elements, faster than rattles of B. rubiginosus, change... read more


    Evergreen and mixed deciduous forest, and mixed bamboo forest, as found, for instance, in heavily... read more

    Food and feeding

    Diet consists of termites (Isoptera), ants, large larvae of wood-boring beetles, also various other insects; occasional berries. Normally... read more


    Mar–Jun. Only described displays are crest-raising and wing-flicking when calling. Nest-hole is low down, at 1–4 m, excavated... read more


    Records outside breeding season at elevations down to 50 m indicate some vertical movements.

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Generally uncommon, though locally common in parts of SE Asia; uncommon in China. Perhaps frequently overlooked as a result of its skulking habits,... read more

    Recommended citation

    Winkler, H. & Christie, D.A. (2019). Bay Woodpecker (Blythipicus pyrrhotis). 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 11 December 2019).