Family Woodpeckers (Picidae)

Least Concern

Grey-breasted Woodpecker (Melanerpes hypopolius)


French: Pic alezan German: Graukehlspecht Spanish: Carpintero pechigrís

Picus hypopolius


, 1829,

Tehuacán and Tecuapán, Puebla, Mexico


Sometimes separated with other barred congeners in Centurus. Has been suggested as closer to M. lewis, M. erythrocephalus and M. formicivorus. Formerly considered conspecific with M. uropygialis. Monotypic.


Interior of SW Mexico from N Guerrero and Morelos E to EC Oaxaca.

Descriptive notes

c. 19–21 cm; 46–54 g. Male has white to buffish-white forehead, red patch on central crown, narrow area of black around eye, a few red feathers beneath eye and... read more


Variable calls include nasal “yek-a yek-a”, e.g. during interactions; series of usually... read more


Xeric areas with scattered trees, shrubs, or large cacti, also agricultural areas; extends into... read more

Food and feeding

Fruits, including those of Ziziphus and cacti (e.g. Opuntia); also insects, including termites (Isoptera), cicadas (... read more


Breeds from late Apr to Jul. Co-operative, colonial breeder; at one site, 3 nests with 5 males and 3 females present. Nest-hole built in... read more



Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Restricted-range species: present in Balsas Region and Interior Oaxaca EBA. Common to fairly common throughout range; uncommon in some places (e.g. C... read more

Recommended citation

Winkler, H. & Christie, D.A. (2020). Grey-breasted Woodpecker (Melanerpes hypopolius). 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 28 February 2020).