Family Woodpeckers (Picidae)

Near Threatened

Iberian Green Woodpecker (Picus sharpei)


French: Pic de Sharpe German: Iberiengrünspecht Spanish: Pito real ibérico

Gecinus sharpei

H. Saunders

, 1872,

Spain south of the Sierra de Guadarrama


Usually considered conspecific with P. viridis and P. vaillantii, but differs from former in having very little or no black on face, so that face grey with red crown and red malar vs face black (on lores, supercilium to above eye, ocular area, moustachial area and in thin line around red malar) (3); red on crown narrower, allowing a grey-green supercilium (black in viridis) to continue over eye and also ear-coverts vs broader line covering postocular superciliary area and thus adjacent to ear-coverts (2); iris browner, not so white and thus much less contrasting (pale brown in grey face vs white in black face) (1); ear-coverts, neck and breast washed grey (ns[1]); black subterminal bars on grey-based red-tipped crown feathers (ns[1]); significant vocal differences involving patterns of dominant frequency and acceleration of the advertising-call (“song”)#R (2); narrow zone of intergradation in S France#R#R (2)); differs from vaillantii (geographically and morphologically closer) in its red vs black malar on male (3), blackish vs whitish area from commissure below lores back along cheek above malar (2), black-spotted red vs blackish-grey crown of female (2), little or no barring on lower underparts (ns[1]). Monotypic.

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

Pyrenees, Iberia and extreme S France (irregularly from Pyrénées-Atlantiques to Hérault).

Descriptive notes

31–33 cm; c. 190 g. Male has forehead to nape red, usually with some grey feather bases/tips showing; lores blackish, becoming grey in superciliary and subocular areas and on... read more


Main call a low “kyack” and variations, sometimes repeated in series; a more explosive “kyik” note... read more


Relatively dry open woodland, both deciduous and mixed, also plantations, orchards, farmland and... read more

Food and feeding

Diet consists mainly of terrestrial ants; some other small invertebrates, both ground-dwelling and arboreal, eaten, along with small amount... read more


Laying from end Mar to Jun; song from Dec–Jan. Nest excavated at up to c. 10 m in tree. Clutch 5–8 eggs; incubation by both parents, period... read more


Resident; some local movements outside breeding season.

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Currently considered Near Threatened. Locally common. Population estimated at 246,000–471,000 pairs (492,000–941,000 mature individuals), of which... read more

Recommended citation

del Hoyo, J., Collar, N., Christie, D.A. & Sharpe, C.J. (2019). Iberian Green Woodpecker (Picus sharpei). 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 9 December 2019).