Family Woodpeckers (Picidae)

Least Concern

Brown-eared Woodpecker (Campethera caroli)


French: Pic à oreillons bruns German: Braunohrspecht Spanish: Pito orejipardo

Chloropicus Caroli


, 1852,



Proposed race budongoensis (Uganda and W Kenya) inseparable from nominate. Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • C. c. arizela (Oberholser, 1899) – Guinea-Bissau and Sierra Leone to Ghana.
  • C. c. caroli (Malherbe, 1852) – Nigeria (rare), and Cameroon E to SW & S South Sudan, Uganda (except NE) and W Kenya (Kakamega), and S to NW Angola, S DRCongo, NW Zambia and NW Tanzania (Bukoba).
  • Descriptive notes

    c. 18 cm; 50–68 g. Male has olive to blackish-olive forehead to nape, feathers tipped red on hindcrown, broad red tips on nape; olive-streaked buffish super­cilium... read more


    Common call a slurred “kwaa-kwaa-kwaa”; also sharp “prrrriiirrii”, high-... read more


    Lowland primary forest, dense secondary growth, forest-shrub-grassland mosaic, and plantations;... read more

    Food and feeding

    Primarily ants; also other insects, and larvae. Shy and inconspicuous; often in mixed-species flocks. Searches dead branches in the canopy... read more


    Few data. Season Dec–Jun in Sierra Leone and Liberia; Aug–Feb in Zaire; nest building in Nov in Gabon. Nest at low to medium... read more



    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Generally uncommon, though locally common, e.g. in Sierra Leone and Gabon. Reasonably common in Liberia, with densities of 3–6 pairs/km², and... read more

    Recommended citation

    Winkler, H. & Christie, D.A. (2019). Brown-eared Woodpecker (Campethera caroli). 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 14 December 2019).