Family Woodpeckers (Picidae)

Near Threatened

Olive-backed Woodpecker (Dinopium rafflesii)


French: Pic oriflamme German: Olivrückenspecht Spanish: Pito dorsioliva

Picus Rafflesii


, 1830,

no locality = Sumatra


Original description previously attributed to Vigors and Horsfield, but Vigors alone was the author#R. Individual variation considerable, and races poorly marked, differing only in size; described race peninsulare (Malacca, in Peninsular Malaysia) considered synonymous with nominate. Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • D. r. rafflesii (Vigors, 1830) – S Myanmar (S Tenasserim) and peninsular Thailand S to Sumatra, including Bangka I.
  • D. r. dulitense Delacour, 1946 – Borneo.
  • Descriptive notes

    c. 26–28 cm; 87–119 g (rafflesii), 76–84 g (dulitense). Male has red forehead, crown and crest, black and white stripes on side of head... read more


    Single “chak” note; also rapid series of loud notes in two versions, slow “... read more


    Dense, wet evergreen forest, including swamp-forest, mangroves; avoids secondary growth and... read more

    Food and feeding

    Ants, termites (Isoptera), and especially ant pupae. Singly and in pairs. Forages at low and middle heights, below 10 m, on fallen logs, at... read more


    Mar–May; apparently Oct in Borneo. Displays include crest-raising, bowing movements, head-swinging; courtship feeding by male. Nest... read more



    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Currently considered Near Threatened. Scarce to uncommon throughout its range; perhaps somewhat commoner in parts of Borneo, although few records... read more

    Recommended citation

    Winkler, H., Christie, D.A. & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). Olive-backed Woodpecker (Dinopium rafflesii). 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 25 February 2020).