Family Woodpeckers (Picidae)

Least Concern

Checkered Woodpecker (Veniliornis mixtus)


French: Pic varié German: Streifenschwanzspecht Spanish: Pico bataraz chico
Other common names: Checked Woodpecker

Picus mixtus


, 1783,

Buenos Aires, Argentina


Previously placed in Picoides. Molecular analyses, however, indicate that this species belongs in present genus and is part of a clade which contains also V. spilogaster and V. lignarius#R. Genetically close to latter#R#R and may be conspecific, but mixtus differs in its smaller size (effect size for tail 4.15, score 2); higher and harsher long-distance trill call (allow 2); less streaked hindcrown (1); slightly more regular streaking on throat (1); less buffy-tinged underparts (1); and deeper black of plumage (ns[1]); possible overlap of breeding ranges not well documented. Races intergrade, and malleator and berlepschi may be more appropriately lumped into nominate. Four subspecies tentatively recognized.

What do (1) and (2) mean? Learn more about the scoring system.
Subspecies and Distribution
  • V. m. cancellatus (Wagler, 1829) – extreme E Bolivia (Huanchaca Mts) to E & S Brazil (W Piauí S to S Mato Grosso, W Minas Gerais and Rio Grande do Sul).
  • V. m. malleator (Wetmore, 1922) – Chaco region of SE Bolivia, W Paraguay and N Argentina (S to La Rioja and Sante Fe).
  • V. m. berlepschi (Hellmayr, 1915) – C & E Argentina from San Luis and Córdoba S to Neuquén, Río Negro and S Buenos Aires.
  • V. m. mixtus (Boddaert, 1783) – E Argentina on R Paraná and in Buenos Aires (except S), extreme SE Brazil (SW Rio Grande do Sul) and W Uruguay.
  • Descriptive notes

    14 cm; 29·8–37 g. Male has blackish-brown forehead and crown faintly streaked white or buffish-white, occasionally some crown feathers tipped red, nape red or... read more


    Single “peek”; also trilling “ti-ti-ti-ti-ti...” as long-distance call, and... read more


    Inhabits various types of rather humid open woodland and riparian growth; also savanna woodland,... read more

    Food and feeding

    Insects, seeds. Forages singly or in pairs. Most common foraging substrates are twigs and small branches of bushes and trees. Main... read more


    Sept–Nov. Nest excavated by both sexes, at 3–6 m in tree or palm. Clutch 4 eggs; no information on incubation and fledging... read more


    Insufficiently known. Some post-breeding movement in S; Mato Grosso birds leave in May, and return... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. No data on numbers. Probably quite common, but appears to be very local, for reasons not understood. Present in Serra do Cipó, Chapada dos... read more

    Recommended citation

    Winkler, H. & Christie, D.A. (2019). Checkered Woodpecker (Veniliornis mixtus). 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 5 December 2019).