Family Woodpeckers (Picidae)

Least Concern

Buff-spotted Woodpecker (Campethera nivosa)


French: Pic tacheté German: Termitenspecht Spanish: Pito nevado

Dendromus nivosus


, 1837,

West Africa


Race maxima, known only from two specimens from N Ivory Coast, doubtfully valid, possibly only a larger form of nominate. Latter intergrades with race herberti, the resultant intermediates formerly known as race efulenensis; yalensis (W Kenya) synonymized with herberti. Four subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • C. n. nivosa (Swainson, 1837) – Senegambia E to Cameroon and W DRCongo and S to NW Angola.
  • C. n. maxima Traylor, 1970 – N Ivory Coast.
  • C. n. poensis Alexander, 1903 – Bioko I.
  • C. n. herberti (Alexander, 1908) – S Central African Republic and SW South Sudan (Bangangai Forest) to W Kenya (Kakamega and South Nandi Forests) and S to SC & E DRCongo.
  • Descriptive notes

    c. 14–16 cm; 30–49 g. Male has dark green-olive to blackish-olive forehead and crown, red nape; rest of head whitish to pale yellow-buff, heavily streaked olive,... read more


    Calls “preeeew”, and “dee-dee-dee” trills; repeated “te-te-te-te-te... read more


    Primary and dense secondary lowland and montane forest, at up to c. 1800 m, mostly to 950 m; on... read more

    Food and feeding

    Main food black ants (Crematogaster) and termites (Isoptera). Singly or in pairs; joins mixed-species flocks. Forages quietly in... read more


    Season Nov–Jun; Jan–Mar in Sierra Leone; eggs in Apr in Nigeria; probably breeds in Nov–Jan and Mar–Jun in Cameroon... read more



    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Common in most of range; not uncommon in Nigeria and Angola; uncommon in Kenya. Common in Liberia, densities 13 pairs/km² in logged forest, 8 pairs/... read more

    Recommended citation

    Winkler, H. & Christie, D.A. (2019). Buff-spotted Woodpecker (Campethera nivosa). 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).