Family Woodpeckers (Picidae)

Least Concern

Orange-backed Woodpecker (Chrysocolaptes validus)


French: Pic vigoureux German: Reinwardtspecht Spanish: Pito dorsinaranja

Picus validus


, 1825,



In the past was commonly included in present genus, but more recently has been placed in a monotypic sister-genus Reinwardtipicus, mainly on grounds of significant differences in plumage colours, behaviour and vocalizations; the latest molecular analyses#R, however, indicate that this species is genetically so close to Chrysocolaptes that it is better included within it. Races weakly differentiated, with much overlap in features. Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • C. v. xanthopygius Finsch, 1905 – extreme S Thailand S to Sumatra and Borneo, including Riau Archipelago, Bangka I and N Natuna Is.
  • C. v. validus (Temminck, 1825) – Java.
  • Descriptive notes

    30 cm; 155–185 g. Male has red forehead, crown and short crest bordered pale orange, orange-brown side of head, darker and browner towards rear; chin and malar area... read more


    Various loud, ringing calls, e.g. “pit”, singly or in loose irregular series; slow... read more


    Primary or secondary evergreen rainforest, coastal vegetation, mature plantations; also along... read more

    Food and feeding

    Beetle larvae, termites (Isoptera), caterpillars, ants and other insects. Lives in pairs and family parties. Forages in very low (rarely)... read more


    Jan–Sept; insufficient data on regional differences; in N Borneo (Sabah) nest with young in late Mar, another nest being built in Apr... read more



    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Uncommon or scarce in most of its range; rare in Java, but commoner in Sumatra and Borneo. Occurs in Khao Nor Chuchi Reserve (Thailand), Taman Negara... read more

    Recommended citation

    Winkler, H. & Christie, D.A. (2019). Orange-backed Woodpecker (Chrysocolaptes validus). 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 12 December 2019).