Family Woodpeckers (Picidae)

Least Concern

Nubian Woodpecker (Campethera nubica)


French: Pic de Nubie German: Nubierspecht Spanish: Pito de Nubia

Picus Nubicus


, 1783,

Nubia, north Sudan


Forms a group with C. punctuligera, C. bennettii and C. scriptoricauda, and sometimes all considered conspecific. Identity of birds in E Rwanda uncertain; they probably belong either to C. bennettii or to nominate race of present species. Races poorly differentiated, and they intergrade; delimitation uncertain, complicated by apparent habitat-conditioned variation of nominate. Two subspecies currently recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • C. n. nubica (Boddaert, 1783) – WC & NE Sudan, Eritrea, Ethiopia and NW & SW Somalia S to NE DRCongo (Beni, Rutshuru Plain), adjacent W Uganda, Kenya and C & SW Tanzania (Morogoro and Rukwa Valley); possibly this taxon in E Rwanda.
  • C. n. pallida (Sharpe, 1902) – E & S Somalia and coastal Kenya.
  • Descriptive notes

    c. 23 cm; 46–71 g. Male has red forehead to nape, white supercilium, streaky black stripe from just in front of eye to rear crown side, white ear-coverts streaked dark... read more


    Loud, shrill, metallic, accelerating “weee-weee-weee...kweek”, dying away at end, as... read more


    Drier bushland, bushy grassland, riverine woodland, and open woodland; occurs in Euphorbia... read more

    Food and feeding

    Diet almost entirely ants; also termites (Isoptera), other insects; also spiders. Observed mainly singly, but pair-members keep vocal... read more


    Nov–Mar in Ethiopia; Jan–Feb, and eggs found also end Jun and mid-Nov, in Somalia; Jun–Jul in Uganda; from Feb in Zaire;... read more



    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Common to very common and patchily distributed throughout Somalia; fairly common and widespread in E Africa; race pallida uncommon in... read more

    Recommended citation

    Winkler, H. & Christie, D.A. (2020). Nubian Woodpecker (Campethera nubica). 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 18 January 2020).