Family Woodpeckers (Picidae)

Least Concern

Bearded Woodpecker (Dendropicos namaquus)


French: Pic barbu German: Namaspecht Spanish: Pito namaqua

Picus Namaquus

A. A. H. Lichtenstein

, 1793,

Damaraland, Namibia


Often placed, along with D. xantholophus and D. pyrrhogaster, in a separate genus Thripias#R, or, more recently, all three placed in Chloropicus (which has priority)#R. Races known to intergrade. Proposed races saturatus (W Central African Republic) and decipiens (SW Uganda and S Kenya S to C Tanzania) inseparable from nominate. Three subspecies currently recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • D. n. schoensis (Rüppell, 1842) – Ethiopia, NW & S Somalia and N Kenya.
  • D. n. namaquus (A. A. H. Lichtenstein, 1793) – W Central African Republic E to S Sudan, Uganda and W & S Kenya, and from W & S Angola across to SE DRCongo and Tanzania, S to W & C Namibia, Botswana, N South Africa and N & C Mozambique.
  • D. n. coalescens (Clancey, 1958) – C & S Mozambique and E South Africa.
  • Descriptive notes

    24–27 cm; 61–89 g. Male has black forehead and forecrown with small white spots, red hindcrown sometimes with yellowish at fore edge, black nape and hindneck;... read more


    Common call an accelerating rattle series of 5–15 “wik” notes, similar to song of... read more


    Open woodland with large trees. Favours wooded dry savanna, especially with mopane (... read more

    Food and feeding

    Diet consists of insects and their larvae, particularly wood-boring beetles and their larvae, caterpillars and ants; also takes spiders.... read more


    Probably Jun–Oct in Angola; Apr/May–Jun in Ethiopia; laying recorded in late Sept in N Somalia; Apr–Oct in Kenya, Jun... read more



    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Widespread and fairly common, but often very local; seldom numerous. Not uncommon in Angola; fairly common in Ethiopia; uncommon in Somalia; uncommon... read more

    Recommended citation

    Winkler, H. & Christie, D.A. (2020). Bearded Woodpecker (Dendropicos namaquus). 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 28 February 2020).