Family Woodpeckers (Picidae)

Least Concern

Crimson-breasted Woodpecker (Dryobates pernyii)


French: Pic de Perny German: Karmesinbrustspecht Spanish: Pico pechirrojo oriental

Picus Pernyii

J. P. Verreaux

, 1867,

north China = Sichuan


Hitherto considered conspecific with D. cathpharius, but differs in red of crown restricted to hindcrown (not extending broadly onto nape around rear ear-coverts) and being darker in shade (crimson vs scarlet; also on breast) (3); upper belly black vs streaked black-and-buff (3); broader black malar, especially distally (1); slightly larger size (e.g. effect size for tail 1.58; score 1). Three subspecies recognized.

What do (1) and (2) mean? Learn more about the scoring system.
Subspecies and Distribution
  • D. p. pernyii (J. P. Verreaux, 1867) – WC & S China (SW Gansu, N & E Sichuan, NW Yunnan).
  • D. p. innixus Bangs & J. L. Peters, 1928 – C China (S Shaanxi, Hubei).
  • D. p. tenebrosus Rothschild, 1926 – N, C & E Myanmar, C & S Yunnan, NW Thailand, N Laos and W Tonkin.
  • Descriptive notes

    17–19 cm; c. 30 g. Male has buffish-tinged white forehead, black crown, red hindcrown and upper nape, black lower nape and hindneck; white lores and side of head, ear-coverts... read more


    Much as for D. cathpharius. Fast decending rattle as territorial call; other calls include... read more


    Broadleaf evergreen forest, mainly at 1200–2800 m; occurs above 1400 m in Thailand.

    Food and feeding

    Insects and, especially, their larvae; also nectar. Forages singly and in pairs; observed very occasionally in mixed-species flocks. Seeks... read more


    Little information. Season probably Feb/Mar–Apr/May. Nest an excavated hole in tree. Clutch probably 2–4 eggs.


    Presumably resident. Some altitudinal shifts possible.

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Rare to scarce in China; scarce to uncommon, perhaps locally not uncommon, elsewhere. Global population not quantified; numbers... read more

    Recommended citation

    del Hoyo, J., Collar, N. & Christie, D.A. (2019). Crimson-breasted Woodpecker (Dryobates pernyii). 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 19 June 2019).