Family Woodpeckers (Picidae)

Near Threatened

Buff-necked Woodpecker (Meiglyptes tukki)


French: Pic tukki German: Tukkispecht Spanish: Pito tukki

Picus tukki


, 1839,



N Natunas population, sometimes separated as race azaleus, may exhibit more obscure barring, but much variation in this character and subspecific separation not warranted; similarly, described race calceuticus (Banyak Is, off NW Sumatra) appears indistinguishable from nominate. Five subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • M. t. tukki (Lesson, 1839) – S Myanmar (S Tenasserim) and peninsular Thailand S to Sumatra (including nearby Banyak Is and Bangka), N Natunas and N Borneo.
  • M. t. infuscatus Salvadori, 1887 – Nias I (off NW Sumatra).
  • M. t. batu Meyer de Schauensee & Ripley, 1940 – Batu Is (off NW Sumatra).
  • M. t. pulonis Chasen & Kloss, 1929 – Banggi I (off N Borneo).
  • M. t. percnerpes Oberholser, 1924 – S Borneo.
  • Descriptive notes

    c. 21 cm; 43–64 g. Male has red malar patch barred black and buffy at rear, large buffish-white or yellowish-buff patch from lower edge of rear ear-coverts to rear... read more


    Single “pee” calls like those of M.tristis, also series of “dwit”... read more


    Primary and tall secondary evergreen and semi-evergreen forest with dense undergrowth and rotting... read more

    Food and feeding

    Ants and termites (Isoptera). Feeds singly, in small groups, or in pairs, partners sometimes staying in close contact, even feeding side by... read more


    Feb–Jul; May–Jun in Peninsular Malaysia; young found in early Jun in Borneo. Head-swinging displays. Nest built in rotten wood... read more



    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Currently considered Near-threatened. Uncommon to fairly common in continental range; perhaps commoner elsewhere. Occurs in Taman Negara National... read more

    Recommended citation

    Winkler, H. & Christie, D.A. (2020). Buff-necked Woodpecker (Meiglyptes tukki). 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 24 January 2020).