Family Woodpeckers (Picidae)

Least Concern

Gabon Woodpecker (Dendropicos gabonensis)


French: Pic du Gabon German: Gabunspecht Spanish: Pito del Gabón

Dendrobates Gabonensis

J. P. Verreaux and J. B. É. Verreaux

, 1851,



Closely related to D. lugubris and sometimes treated as conspecific (but see that species). Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • D. g. reichenowi Sjöstedt, 1893 – S Nigeria to SW Cameroon.
  • D. g. gabonensis (J. P. Verreaux & J. B. É. Verreaux, 1851) – S Cameroon (except SW) and SW Central African Republic S to S Congo, and E across N & C DRCongo (E to W slope of Rwenzoris, S to W Kasai) to extreme W Uganda; reports from Cabinda (N Angola) considered dubious#R.
  • Descriptive notes

    c. 16–17 cm; 24–30 g. Male has olive-brown forehead and forecrown, rarely with pale streaks, red hindcrown and nape, indistinct dark-streaked white supercilium,... read more


    Common call a single buzzing “zh-dzeeeep”, or fast repeated “dzhaah, dzhaah, dzheep” and variations.


    Inhabits forest edge, tall second growth, and edges of cultivation, generally at altitudes below... read more

    Food and feeding

    Insects, mainly ants, and insect larvae, especially wood-boring ones. Mostly in pairs. Feeds in canopy and understorey. Forages by probing... read more


    Specimens with slightly enlarged gonads in Oct, and male excavating nest-hole in mid-Oct, in Nigeria; birds in breeding condition in Sept... read more



    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Uncommon to locally common. Uncommon in Nigeria; locally quite common in Gabon. Present in several protected areas, e.g. Korup National Park (... read more

    Recommended citation

    Winkler, H. & Christie, D.A. (2019). Gabon Woodpecker (Dendropicos gabonensis). 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).