Family Woodpeckers (Picidae)

Near Threatened

Red-cockaded Woodpecker (Leuconotopicus borealis)


French: Pic à face blanche German: Kokardenspecht Spanish: Pico de Florida

Picus borealis


, 1809,

Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, USA


Basal relationships with L. villosus, L. stricklandi and L. albolarvatus, and all previously placed in Picoides. Birds from C & S Florida named as race hylonomus on basis of smaller size, but unacceptable, since size decreases clinally from N to S. Monotypic.


Patchily in SE USA, from SE Oklahoma and E Texas E to Atlantic coast: extends N to SE Virginia, S to C Louisiana, S Mississippi and Florida.

Descriptive notes

22 cm; 40–55 g, male on average 1·5 g heavier than female. Male has whitish nasal tufts, black forehead to hindneck, short white stripe behind eye, small red... read more


Commonest call in human presence and alarm a distinctive “shrrit” or “sklit... read more


Adapted to open mature pine (Pinus) forest and forests of pine mixed with oak (Quercus... read more

Food and feeding

Diet mainly insects, their larvae, and other arthropods; some plant material. Ants, particularly eggs, larvae, pupae, also adults of... read more


Lays in late Apr; rarely, 2 broods. In pairs; a third of these have helpers, 70–95% of which are males, generally offspring from... read more


Resident and sedentary. Stragglers recorded N to Ohio.

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Currently considered Near Threatened, and previously, Vulnerable. Uncommon to rare, and extremely local. Adapted to open mature pine and pine-... read more

Recommended citation

Winkler, H. & Christie, D.A. (2019). Red-cockaded Woodpecker (Leuconotopicus borealis). 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 9 December 2019).