Family Woodpeckers (Picidae)

Least Concern

Little Spotted Woodpecker (Campethera cailliautii)


French: Pic de Cailliaud German: Tüpfelspecht Spanish: Pito de Cailliaud
Other common names: Green-backed Woodpecker

Chrysopicos Cailliautii


, 1849,

Mombasa, Kenya


Has been considered conspecific with C. maculosa (which see). Proposed race kaffensis (SW Ethiopia) regarded as synonymous with nyansae; fuelleborni (sometimes misspelt fulleborni), from W Tanzania to Zambia, likewise synonymized with nyansae. Orange-naped form quadrosi, known only from Mozambique type specimen, considered an aberrant form of loveridgei. Three subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • C. c. nyansae (Neumann, 1900) – SW Ethiopia, SW Kenya and NW Tanzania through E DRCongo to N Zambia and NE Angola.
  • C. c. loveridgei E. J. O. Hartert, 1920 – C Tanzania (Kilosa area) S to extreme E Zimbabwe (Mt Zelinda) and Mozambique (S to R Limpopo).
  • C. c. cailliautii (Malherbe, 1849) – coastal zone from S Somalia (lower R Jubba and Boni Forest) S to NE Tanzania, including Zanzibar I.
  • Descriptive notes

    c. 16 cm; 35–56 g. Male has black forehead and crown feathers tipped red, red nape, buffish lores, white supercilium, buffish-white sides of head to chin and upper... read more


    Thin, plaintive “hee” or “hlieee”, repeated c. 3–12 times at regular... read more


    Wide range of habitats, from forest to thornbush savanna; often near water in dry country and... read more

    Food and feeding

    Diet consists largely of arboreal formicid ants and termites (Isoptera). Observed singly or in pairs. Forages high in the canopy; also in... read more


    Sept–Nov in E, Sept–Feb in Mozambique and Zimbabwe, and probably Mar–Sept in DRCongo, with egg-laying associated with... read more


    Resident; some short-distance wandering.

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Generally localized and uncommon. Rare in Somalia, where very few records; uncommon and local in E Africa, possibly more common in... read more

    Recommended citation

    Winkler, H., Christie, D.A. & Kirwan, G.M. (2019). Little Spotted Woodpecker (Campethera cailliautii). 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 8 December 2019).