Family Woodpeckers (Picidae)

Least Concern

Blond-crested Woodpecker (Celeus flavescens)


French: Pic à tête blonde German: Gelbschopfspecht Spanish: Carpintero amarillento

Picus flavescens

J. F. Gmelin

, 1788,

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil


Recent molecular study found this species to form a monophyletic group with C. elegans and C. lugubris#R; has sometimes been treated as conspecific with C. lugubris. Until recently, considered conspecific with C. ochraceus, as intergradation of two taxa and intermediate form intercedens suggest morphological and geographical convergence, but differs in its pale plumage coloration of whitish-buff vs orange-ochre (2); pale barring on upperparts much narrower and not broken up into scaling and dotting (3); considerably larger size, on basis of published measurements#R in which no overlap in ranges of values for bill, wing, tail or tarsus (allow at least 2); also, zone of intergradation (e.g. SW Bahia to Espírito Santo) (at least 1). Recent molecular evidence supports species status for present form, although study failed to sample intercedens, which “some populations of C. ochraceus closely resemble”#R; more research on situation in intervening areas between taxa required. Described form roosevelti was in the past sometimes treated as a race of present species, but now regarded as hybrid probably between C. elegans jumanus and C. lugubris. Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • C. f. intercedens Hellmayr, 1908 – EC Brazil from W Bahia to Goiás and Minas Gerais.
  • C. f. flavescens (J. F. Gmelin, 1788) – SE Brazil (S Bahia to Rio Grande do Sul) to E Paraguay and NE Argentina (Misiones).
  • Descriptive notes

    c. 27–30 cm; 110–165 g (flavescens). Distinctive, striking woodpecker. Male has broad red malar and cheekband, red sometimes spreading beneath eye,... read more


    Resonant loud “tsew” or “wee” repeated up to seven times (usually two... read more


    Humid forest, also savanna and caatinga; found at forest edge, in gallery forest, and in... read more

    Food and feeding

    Arboreal ants (Dolichoderus, Crematogaster), also Camponotus ants, and termites (Isoptera) are important part of... read more


    Apr–Jun in E Brazil and Oct–Nov in Argentina. Nest-hole in tree, often in arboreal nest of ants. No other information available. read more



    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Has large range, within which it is generally not uncommon and locally fairly common. It is, however, a very little-known woodpecker... read more

    Recommended citation

    Winkler, H. & Christie, D.A. (2020). Blond-crested Woodpecker (Celeus flavescens). 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 29 February 2020).