Family Woodpeckers (Picidae)

Least Concern

Himalayan Woodpecker (Dendrocopos himalayensis)


French: Pic de l’Himalaya German: Himalajaspecht Spanish: Pico del Himalaya
Other common names: Himalayan Pied Woodpecker

Picus himalayensis

Jardine and Selby

, 1831,

Mussoorie, near Dehra Dun, northern India


A member of the D. major species-group (which see). Races intergrade in N India. Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • D. h. albescens (E. C. S. Baker, 1926) – NE Afghanistan (Safed Koh) and N Pakistan to N India (Himachal Pradesh).
  • D. h. himalayensis (Jardine & Selby, 1835) – E Himachal Pradesh E to W Nepal.
  • Descriptive notes

    23–25 cm; 57–85 g. Male has pale buff-white forehead, crimson-red crown to upper nape usually with some black or grey feather bases showing (especially forecrown... read more


    Single “kit”, much like that of D. major; also rapid high “chissik-chissik”, and fast “tri... read more


    Rather dense, dry to wet, extensive coniferous forest, also oak (Quercus) and rhododendron... read more

    Food and feeding

    Insects and their larvae, other arthropods; also plant matter, possibly including sap. Takes wood-boring beetle larvae, weevils (... read more


    Laying in second half Apr and first half May. Aerial pursuits near nest. Nest-hole excavated by both sexes, mostly by male, at 1·5–15... read more


    Largely resident; some local movement to lower hills may occur in winter.

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Common in Pakistan; fairly common in India and Nepal; the commonest woodpecker in most of its range. No known threats, and seems unlikely to suffer... read more

    Recommended citation

    Winkler, H. & Christie, D.A. (2019). Himalayan Woodpecker (Dendrocopos himalayensis). 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 7 December 2019).