Family Woodpeckers (Picidae)

Least Concern

Pale-headed Woodpecker (Gecinulus grantia)


French: Pic grantia German: Blassscheitel-Bambusspecht Spanish: Pito del bambú norteño

Picus (Chrysonotus) Grantia


, 1840,



Original description previously attributed to McClelland, but correct author is Horsfield#R. Closely related to G. viridis, and in the past the two were at times treated as conspecific. Recent observations and several specimens reinforce probability that a narrow hybrid zone between the two exists in N Thailand and, presumably, N Laos#R. Proposed form aristus (NE India) synonymized with nominate; poilanei (Cochinchina, in S Vietnam) is inseparable from indochinensis. Three subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • G. g. grantia (Horsfield, 1840) – foothills from E Nepal E to N, C & W Myanmar and S China (W Yunnan).
  • G. g. indochinensis Delacour, 1927 – SW Yunnan, NW Thailand, Laos and Vietnam.
  • G. g. viridanus Slater, 1897 – SE China (N Guangdong, Fujian).
  • Descriptive notes

    25–27 cm; 68–85 g. Male has greenish-yellow crown to nape and crest, central patch of red-tipped pinkish feathers reaching to upper nape; rest of head and neck... read more


    Nasal “chaik-chaik-chaik-chaik” or “kwéek kwek-kwek”, 4–5... read more


    Inhabits evergreen forest, semi-deciduous forest, secondary mixed bamboo forest, secondary forest... read more

    Food and feeding

    Mainly ants, larvae of beetles, and other insects. Often in pairs or small family parties. Forages mainly in lower levels, on trunks of... read more


    Mar–May. Nest-cavity excavated 1–6 m up in dead tree, rotten stump or bamboo. Clutch three eggs. No other information, but... read more



    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Very rare in Nepal, only few records (from E), where not discovered until 1974; uncommon in India and Bhutan (known from just 3–4 sites in... read more

    Recommended citation

    Winkler, H., Christie, D.A. & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). Pale-headed Woodpecker (Gecinulus grantia). 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).