Family Woodpeckers (Picidae)

Least Concern

Cream-colored Woodpecker (Celeus flavus)


French: Pic jaune German: Strohspecht Spanish: Carpintero amarillo

Picus flavus

Statius Müller

, 1776,



Races intergrade extensively, producing numerous intermediates, and in much of range many individuals impossible to assign to a particular race; geographical limits given are therefore somewhat arbitrary. Races peruvianus and tectricialis perhaps better merged with nominate. Birds from NE Amazonian Brazil named as race inornatus, but inseparable from nominate; described form semicinnamomeus (E Colombia E to S & E Venezuela and the Guianas) is likewise synonymized with nominate. Four subspecies tentatively recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • C. f. flavus (Statius Müller, 1776) – E Colombia, SW & NE Venezuela and the Guianas S to E Ecuador, W Brazil (S to Mato Grosso do Sul) and N Bolivia (Beni)#R#R.
  • C. f. peruvianus (Cory, 1919) – E Peru.
  • C. f. tectricialis (Hellmayr, 1922) – Maranhão (NE Brazil).
  • C. f. subflavus P. L. Sclater & Salvin, 1877 – E Brazil in Alagoas and S on coast from Bahia to Espírito Santo.
  • Descriptive notes

    c. 24–26 cm; 95–131 g (flavus), c. 200 g (subflavus). Unmistakable; pale yellowish with long crest, black tail, dark wings. Male has bright red... read more


    Distinctive high-pitched laugh, “wutchuk kee-hoo-hoo-hoo”, “pueer, pueer, purr,... read more


    Humid forest, often near water. Frequents rainforest, such as várzea and swamp-forest,... read more

    Food and feeding

    Ants (Crematogaster) and termites (Isoptera); also eats fruits and seeds. Forages singly, but mostly in pairs or in groups of 3 or... read more


    Apr–Jun in Colombia, possibly somewhat earlier in Venezuela; recorded mating in Feb in Suriname. Nest and other details apparently... read more



    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Generally rather uncommon; very common in NE Venezuela; uncommon in Ecuador and Peru; possibly common locally in Brazil. Occurs in Imataca Forest... read more

    Recommended citation

    Winkler, H., Christie, D.A. & Bonan, A. (2019). Cream-colored Woodpecker (Celeus flavus). 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 7 December 2019).