Family Woodpeckers (Picidae)

Least Concern

Grey-and-buff Woodpecker (Hemicircus sordidus)


French: Pic d’Eyton German: Sumatra-Kurzschwanzspecht Spanish: Pito colicorto común

Dendrocopus [sic] sordidus


, 1845,



Hitherto treated as conspecific with H. concretus, but differs in having red crown with grey crest vs entire crown and crest red, with darker, less fiery colour and more glossy texture (3); proportion of buff-white to black in wings much greater (2); greyish-olive vs sooty-grey face, neck and underparts (1); slightly shorter wings and tail (effect size for wing length −2.13; score 2). Sumatra and Borneo populations named as race coccometopus, but regarded as insufficiently different to warrant separation. Monotypic.

What do (1) and (2) mean? Learn more about the scoring system.

S Myanmar (S Tenasserim) and peninsular Thailand S to Sumatra (including N Mentawai Is and Bangka I), and Borneo.

Descriptive notes

c. 13–14 cm; c. 30 g. Very small, compact woodpecker with slender neck, large head and extremely short, rounded tail. Male has red forehead, crown and fore part of crest red... read more


All vocalizations generally indistinguishable from those of H. concretus. Calls include... read more


Broadleaf evergreen forest, mainly secondary forest; also forest edge, sometimes plantations, and... read more

Food and feeding

Mostly insects; fruits, such as lime and mistletoe (Loranthus), also recorded in diet. Forages singly, in pairs, and sometimes in... read more


Dec–Jul; apparently Apr–Jul in Peninsular Malaysia. Crest-raising is commonest display. Nest-hole excavated in tree, at heights between 9 m... read more



Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Uncommon throughout most of range; locally common in Sumatra, possibly also in Borneo; extinct in Singapore. Probably declining... read more

Recommended citation

del Hoyo, J., Collar, N. & Christie, D.A. (2020). Grey-and-buff Woodpecker (Hemicircus sordidus). 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 29 February 2020).