Family Woodpeckers (Picidae)

Least Concern

Green-barred Woodpecker (Colaptes melanochloros)


French: Pic vert et noir German: Grünbindenspecht Spanish: Carpintero real norteño

Picus melanochloros

J. F. Gmelin

, 1788,

Cayenne; error = Rio de Janeiro, Brazil


Sometimes (with C. melanolaimus) placed in a separate genus Chrysoptilus with the other “forest flickers” C. punctigula and C. atricollis, but phylogenetic analyses indicate that placement in Colaptes more appropriate#R. Present species usually considered conspecific with C. melanolaimus, but differs on account of somewhat smaller size, with notably shorter bill, although there appears to be a large area of intergradation and variability in Corrientes (NE Argentina) (for bill at least 1); no black at distal end of submoustachial stripe (2); underparts darker, with circular or spade-shaped and smaller (vs heart-shaped and larger) spots below, often tending towards a few bars (vs becoming more distinctly barred) on flanks and lower belly, and with neater vs coarse streaking on chin and throat (2); more barring on outer tail (ns[1–2]); broader, yellow vs narrower, stonier barring above with yellowish vs whitish rump (2); largely arboreal vs partly terrestrial behaviour (2); hybrid zone along R Paraná and R Uruguay (2). Additional named races mariae (Marajó I, in NE Brazil) and fluvilumbis (Bahia) both considered insufficiently differentiated to warrant recognition. Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • C. m. nattereri (Malherbe, 1845) – NE & SC Brazil S to E Bolivia (Santa Cruz).
  • C. m. melanochloros (J. F. Gmelin, 1788) – S & SE Brazil, SE Paraguay, NE Argentina (Misiones) and Uruguay.
  • Descriptive notes

    c. 27–29 cm; 80–150 g. Male has black forehead and forecrown, red hindcrown and nape, whitish lores, cheeks and ear-coverts, ear-coverts strongly tinged olive;... read more


    Call “kwiek-kwik-kwik”, similar to that of C. campestris; also “peah... read more


    Variety of habitats, from lowland forest to savanna, including plantation forests, e.g. ... read more

    Food and feeding

    Almost exclusively ants and their brood, with genera Camponotus,Crematogaster and Paracryptocerus... read more


    From Aug–Sept to Jan in S; earlier in N. Display with wing-flicks, spread tail, swinging and bobbing head-and-body movements; calls... read more


    Little information. Appears mainly resident; some local movement possible.

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Has very large range, within which it is widespread. Common or fairly common in most of range. No evidence of any decline in... read more

    Recommended citation

    Winkler, H., Christie, D.A. & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). Green-barred Woodpecker (Colaptes melanochloros). 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 24 January 2020).