Family Woodpeckers (Picidae)

Least Concern

Pale-crested Woodpecker (Celeus lugubris)


French: Pic à tête pâle German: Blassschopfspecht Spanish: Carpintero lúgubre

Celeopicus lugubris


, 1851,

Mato Grosso, Brazil


Recent molecular study found this species to form a monophyletic group with C. flavescens and C. elegans#R; has sometimes been treated as conspecific with first of these. Has apparently hybridized, rarely, with C. elegans; described form roosevelti (from W Mato Grosso) considered a hybrid probably between present species and race jumanus of C. elegans#R. Race olrogi very poorly known, said to be more chocolate-brown (rather than blackish) in colour#R than others and differing in size, and is tentatively accepted here; olrogi is a new name replacing castaneus, which is preoccupied#R. Three subspecies currently recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • C. l. olrogi Fraga & Dickinson, 2008 – NE Bolivia (Beni).
  • C. l. lugubris (Malherbe, 1851) – C & E Bolivia and WC Brazil (W Mato Grosso).
  • C. l. kerri Hargitt, 1891 – Paraguay (except extreme E) and WC Brazil (S Mato Grosso) to NE Argentina (E Formosa, Corrientes).
  • Descriptive notes

    c. 23–24 cm; 115–130 g (lugubris), 112·1–157 g (kerri). Distinctive. Male has brown lores, broad red malar and cheek­band, red... read more


    Call “wee-wee-week”. Drums weakly.


    Semi-deciduous forest, cerrado woodland and dry Chaco woodland; frequently seen in areas... read more

    Food and feeding

    Ants and their brood, including those of the genera Camponotus, Crematogaster, Dolichoderus and others. Utilizes... read more


    Sept–Nov, or later in S. Nest-hole excavated in tree or dug into arboreal nest of ants or termites, at 4–10 m. No other... read more



    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Generally fairly common throughout much of range. Occurs in several protected areas, e.g. Das Emas and Chapada dos Guimarães National Parks (Brazil)... read more

    Recommended citation

    Winkler, H. & Christie, D.A. (2019). Pale-crested Woodpecker (Celeus lugubris). 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 November 2019).