Family Woodpeckers (Picidae)

Least Concern

Ochre-backed Woodpecker (Celeus ochraceus)


French: Pic ocré German: Blondschopfspecht Spanish: Carpintero ocráceo

Picus ochraceus


, 1824,

Amazon rainforest


Recent molecular study found this species to be sister to the monophyletic group formed by C. flavescens, C. elegans and C. lugubris#R. Has sometimes been treated as conspecific with last of these. Usually treated as race of C. flavescens, as intergradation of two taxa and intermediate form intercedens suggest morphological and geographical convergence, but differs in its pale plumage coloration of orange-ochre vs whitish-buff (2); pale barring on upperparts much broader and more broken up into scaling and dotting (3); considerably smaller size, on basis of published measurements#R in which no overlap in ranges of values for bill, wing, tail or tarsus (allow at least 2); also, zone of intergradation (e.g. SW Bahia to Espírito Santo) (at least 1). Recent molecular evidence supports species status for present form, although study failed to sample intercedens, which “some populations of C. ochraceus closely resemble”#R; more research on situation in intervening areas between taxa required. Monotypic.


E Brazil from W Pará (S of Amazon) to Atlantic coast and S to E Bahia and Espírito Santo.

Descriptive notes

c. 25–27 cm. Distinctive woodpecker. Male has broad, short malar band and adjoining cheek area dull red, rest of head including long pointed crest, and chin, throat and neck... read more


Loud “tsew tsew”, “wee-wee-week”, also well-spaced series of “wheep” notes; raucous “wicka” or “... read more


Humid forest, also savanna and caatinga; found at forest edge, in gallery forest, and in... read more

Food and feeding

Arboreal ants of genera Dolichoderus and Crematogaster, also Camponotus ants, and termites (Isoptera) are... read more


Season Apr–Jun. Nest-hole in tree, often in arboreal nest of ants. No other information available.



Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Generally not uncommon. Has reasonably large global range. Continuing destruction and fragmentation of its habitat indicate that this... read more

Recommended citation

del Hoyo, J., Collar, N. & Christie, D.A. (2019). Ochre-backed Woodpecker (Celeus ochraceus). 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 14 December 2019).