Family Woodpeckers (Picidae)


Great Slaty Woodpecker (Mulleripicus pulverulentus)


French: Pic meunier German: Puderspecht Spanish: Picatroncos pizarroso

Picus pulverulentus


, 1826,

Java and Sumatra


Geographical variation not well marked, and individual variation makes racial delimitation difficult; size varies only slightly and inconstantly throughout range. NW populations (Himachal Pradesh to N Assam) sometimes separated as race mohun on basis of darker coloration, especially below, but some individuals from Myanmar and Thailand appear identical. Races intergrade in peninsular Thailand, intermediates from which previously separated as race celadinus. Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • M. p. harterti Hesse, 1911 – N India (Himachal Pradesh) E through Himalayan foothills to N Myanmar and S China (S Yunnan), S to S Thailand and Indochina.
  • M. p. pulverulentus (Temminck, 1826) – peninsular Thailand S to E Sumatra, W Java, Borneo and N Natunas, and W Philippines (Balabac, Palawan)#R.
  • Descriptive notes

    c. 45–50 cm; 360–563 g. Very large, the biggest Old World woodpecker, with very long bill, long neck and long tail. Male has pale red cheek patch, creamy to... read more


    Loud whinnying cackle of 2–5 (most commonly four) notes, “woikwoikwoikwoik”,... read more


    Primary semi-open moist deciduous and tropical evergreen forests, adjacent secondary forest,... read more

    Food and feeding

    Predominantly ants; also other insects, such as stingless bees, termites and larvae of wood-boring beetles. Small fruits possibly eaten at... read more


    Mar–May in W, Mar–Aug in SE Asia; Jun–Aug and Dec–Feb on Borneo. Displays include strange-looking head-swinging,... read more



    Status and conservation

    VULNERABLE. Population estimated in 2005 at 26,000–550,000 individuals (subdivided into estimates of 259,205 of race harterti and 144,113 of nominate) within... read more

    Recommended citation

    Winkler, H., Christie, D.A. & Kirwan, G.M. (2019). Great Slaty Woodpecker (Mulleripicus pulverulentus). 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 10 December 2019).