Family Woodpeckers (Picidae)

Least Concern

Philippine Pygmy Woodpecker (Picoides maculatus)


French: Pic des Philippines German: Scopolispecht Spanish: Pico filipino
Other common names: Philippine Woodpecker

Picus maculatus


, 1786,

Antigua, Panay, Philippines


This species, along with P. temminckii, P. kizuki, P. ramsayi, P. canicapillus, P. nanus and P. moluccensis, was previously placed in Dendrocopos, but molecular studies indicate that they all form a separate clade of very small species, evidently sister to the P. tridactylus clade#R#R; all seven have been combined in Yungipicus by some authors. Closely related to P. temminckii, although one molecular study (in which temminckii not sampled)#R suggested possible sister relationship with P. canicapillus. Usually considered conspecific with P. ramsayi, but fairly recently separated on characters of latter’s nearest-neighbour P. m. fulvifasciatus that can be scored against P. ramsayi as follows: brownish-black vs mid-brown general coloration (2); presence of white spotting on wings and coverts (3); black-spotted breast on yellowish-cream background, with narrow white-spotted black malar vs soft grey-and-buff streaks below, including broad mid-brown malar, with ill-defined yellow breastband (3); small red nape-side patches vs full orange-red nape  on male (ns[2]). Other named races are menagei (Sibuyan), leytensis (Samar, Calicoan, Leyte, Bohol) and apo (Mt Apo, on Mindanao), all considered insufficiently distinct. Three subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • P. m. validirostris (Blyth, 1849) – Luzon, Lubang, Marinduque, Mindoro and Catanduanes (N Philippines).
  • P. m. maculatus (Scopoli, 1786) – Sibuyan, Panay, Gigantes, Guimaras, Negros and Cebu (C Philippines).
  • P. m. fulvifasciatus (Hargitt, 1881) – Samar, Leyte, Bohol, Dinagat, Mindanao and Basilan (EC & S Philippines).
  • Descriptive notes

    13–14 cm; 22–30 g. Male has dark brown forehead to hindcrown, blacker at sides, small red patch at side of hindcrown; white supercilium from rear of eye to nape... read more


    Slightly descending stuttered series, “pilt-pilt-pilt-pilt-pilt”, c. 2–2·5... read more


    Light to dense primary and secondary forest to cloudforest, mature mixed plantations, forest edge,... read more

    Food and feeding

    Insects, mostly ants, also grubs and other larvae. Singly, in pairs, or in small family parties of up to five birds; often joins mixed-... read more


    Season Feb–Aug; nestlings found in Feb. Nest-hole in tree; no other information.



    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Generally common to locally common, and the most abundant woodpecker within its range. Numbers thought to be stable, and no evidence... read more

    Recommended citation

    Winkler, H., Christie, D.A. & Kirwan, G.M. (2019). Philippine Pygmy Woodpecker (Picoides maculatus). 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 11 December 2019).