Family Woodpeckers (Picidae)

Least Concern

Grey Woodpecker (Dendropicos goertae)


Taxonomy

French: Pic goertan German: Graubrustspecht Spanish: Pito gris occidental
Other common names: African Grey Woodpecker
Taxonomy:

Picus Goertae

Statius Müller

, 1776,

Senegal

.

Often placed with D. spodocephalus and D. griseocephalus in a separate genus Mesopicos, sometimes also including D. elliotii (with D. johnstoni)#R; hybridizes with the first two where ranges meet; often treated as conspecific with D. spodocephalus (see below). Races intergrade. Proposed races agmen (tree-savanna belt from Gambia S to Liberia and across to EC Sudan), centralis (savanna from Cameroon to W South Sudan and W Kenya) and oreites (highlands of C Cameroon) all considered inseparable from nominate. Four subspecies currently recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • D. g. koenigi (Neumann, 1903) – Sahel zone from EC Mali E to W & S Sudan.
  • D. g. goertae (Statius Müller, 1776) – SW Mauritania and Senegambia E to South Sudan and W & C Kenya, and S to NE DRCongo, Rwanda and NW Tanzania.
  • D. g. abessinicus (Reichenow, 1900) – E Sudan, Eritrea and N & W Ethiopia.
  • D. g. meridionalis Louette & Prigogine, 1982 – S Gabon to NW Angola (Cabinda, possibly S to Malanje), and SC DRCongo.
  • Descriptive notes

    c. 20 cm; 40·5–52·5 g. Male has grey forehead and forecrown, red hind­crown and nape sometimes with grey feather bases showing on hindcrown; rest of head grey, on... read more

    Voice

    Series of 20–30 “wik” notes as long-distance call; irregular series of “... read more

    Habitat

    Inhabits woodland, wooded grassland and pasture, riverine woodland, thickets with larger trees,... read more

    Food and feeding

    Ants, termites (Isoptera), beetle larvae, other insects; also observed hunting crabs among aerial roots of mangroves, and taking nuts of... read more

    Breeding

    Dec–Jun in W of range, from Oct in Sierra Leone, Jan–Mar in Nigeria, Dec–Feb and Jul–Sept in Zaire, and Feb–... read more

    Movements

    Mostly resident. Some movement in non-breeding season; recorded in Mauritania at Atar, well N of... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Fairly common to common, and widespread. Commonest woodpecker in Senegambia; common in Sierra Leone. Uncommon in Liberia, estimated population 2000... read more

    Recommended citation

    Winkler, H. & Christie, D.A. (2017). Grey Woodpecker (Dendropicos goertae). 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 https://www.hbw.com/node/56205 on 17 December 2017).