Family Woodpeckers (Picidae)

Least Concern

Black-crowned Woodpecker (Colaptes atriceps)


French: Pic à calotte noire German: Schwarzscheitelspecht Spanish: Carpintero candela capirotado

Hypoxanthus atriceps

P. L. Sclater and Salvin

, 1876,

Huasampilla, Peru


Hitherto considered conspecific with C. rivolii, but differs in its pure black crown vs black crown with fine crimson streaking (either throughout in male, or on hindcrown in female) (2); golden-buff vs crimson edging of scaly breast feathers (2); less crimson and more golden-olive in secondaries and wing-coverts (2); shorter bill (effect size −2.66, score 2); different song, a “descending low churr, quite different from that of brevirostris#R (at least 2). Both were previously placed in Piculus, but recent phylogenetic analyses indicate that placement in Colaptes is more appropriate#R.Monotypic.


SE Peru and W & C Bolivia.

Descriptive notes

c. 27 cm. Male has black forehead and crown, red nape and hindneck, olive-tinged lores and ear-coverts, black malar feathers tipped red; upperparts bronzy olive, darker on... read more


Call a low-pitched, loud rolling “chrrr-rr-r-r” on descending scale; also single or repeated “kik... read more


Tall humid and wet montane forests, mostly at c. 1500–3700 m.

Food and feeding

Few specific data available. Known to consume ants; probably takes other small invertebrates, and likely to eat some fruit. Forages singly... read more


No documented information. Season probably Jun–Nov.


Resident; possibly some altitudinal movement.

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Has reasonably large range within which it appears to be uncommon; perhaps often overlooked. Global population thought to be stable,... read more

Recommended citation

del Hoyo, J., Collar, N. & Christie, D.A. (2019). Black-crowned Woodpecker (Colaptes atriceps). 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 12 December 2019).