Family Woodpeckers (Picidae)

Least Concern

Black-headed Woodpecker (Picus erythropygius)


French: Pic à tête noire German: Rotbürzelspecht Spanish: Pito cabecinegro

Gecinus erythropygius


, 1865,



Races intergrade. Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • P. e. nigrigenis (A. O. Hume, 1874) – C & E Myanmar (S to N Tenasserim) and NW & W Thailand.
  • P. e. erythropygius (Elliot, 1865) – NE Thailand and Indochina.
  • Descriptive notes

    33 cm; 100–135 g. Male has black forehead, lores and cheeks to nape, red patch in centre of crown and sometimes down to eye; a few (both sexes and both races) have a... read more


    Distinctive undulating yelping laugh “ka-tek-a-tek-a-tek-a-tek” or “cha-cha-cha,... read more


    Deciduous forest, especially dry dipterocarp, also pine (Pinus) forest. Recorded up to... read more

    Food and feeding

    Termites (Isoptera), also ants and other invertebrates. Usually in small, noisy groups of 2–6 birds, often associated with jays or... read more


    Feb–Jun. Nest-hole in tree; clutch 3–4 eggs. No other information.



    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Generally scarce to uncommon; locally more common. Occurs in Doi Inthanon National Park (Thailand).

    Recommended citation

    Winkler, H. & Christie, D.A. (2019). Black-headed Woodpecker (Picus erythropygius). 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).