Family Woodpeckers (Picidae)

Least Concern

Little Green Woodpecker (Campethera maculosa)


French: Pic barré German: Goldmantelspecht Spanish: Pito de Guinea
Other common names: Golden-backed Woodpecker

Picus maculosus


, 1826,



Generally considered separate species from C. cailliautii, and here treated as such owing to its densely barred (not spotted) underparts (3); unmarked (not white-spotted) upperparts (3); yellower underparts (yellow-tinged white in other forms) (1); darker tail (ns[1]); and “narrow band” of intergradation “a little beyond the south-eastern margin of the Congo Forest”#R (score 2), as well as in Angola. Race permista sometimes included in C. cailliautii (as in HBW), or treated as separate species, but only distinctions are blackish vs greenish-tinged blackish tail (1) and female without vs with broad red on nape (3); suggestion of only rare hybridization in Ghana called in question and width of hybrid zone not clear; voices “identical”#R. Form togoensis (Ghana to S Nigeria) synonymized with permista. Two subspecies recognized.

What do (1) and (2) mean? Learn more about the scoring system.
Subspecies and Distribution
  • C. m. maculosa (Valenciennes, 1826) – Senegal and W Guinea-Bissau E in coastal zone to C Ghana (Aburi region), extending inland to Mt Nimba (Liberia); recorded in S Mauritania and SW Mali.
  • C. m. permista (Reichenow, 1876) – E Ghana E to SW South Sudan, SW Uganda, and S to N Angola and C DRCongo.
  • Descriptive notes

    c. 16 cm; 48–57 g (permista). Fairly distinctive, small-bodied woodpecker. Male has olive-blackish forehead and crown with small red feather tips, red nape... read more


    Common call regular series of 3–4 ascending “teeay” notes, faster than in C.... read more


    Most forest types, mainly at edges. Inhabits edges of primary and secondary forest, clearings with... read more

    Food and feeding

    Known to feed on ants, primarily of genus Crematogaster. Usually encountered singly or in pairs, sometimes in mixed-species... read more


    Recorded in Aug in Senegal (one record); Dec and Feb in Sierra Leone; in Liberia, nest-excavation seen in May and Oct, adults feeding... read more


    Presumably resident.

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Not uncommon in Sierra Leone; not uncommon in Liberia; very few records from Senegal, all since late 1960s. Relatively little known,... read more

    Recommended citation

    Winkler, H., Christie, D.A. & Kirwan, G.M. (2019). Little Green Woodpecker (Campethera maculosa). 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).