Family Woodpeckers (Picidae)

Least Concern

Reichenow's Woodpecker (Campethera scriptoricauda)


French: Pic de Reichenow German: Reichenowspecht Spanish: Pito de Tanzania
Other common names: Speckle-throated Woodpecker

Dendromus scriptoricauda


, 1896,

no locality = Bumi, Tanzania


Member of the C. nubica species-group (see C. nubica); frequently treated as conspecific with C. bennettii, and sometimes with all members of group. Differs from bennettii in its yellow lower mandible in both sexes (2); in male, greyish vs bright buff ear-coverts (2), and breast spots extending onto buff throat (ns[1]); in female, throat as male, malar white-spotted black, vs throat and malar brown (3); wing shorter (effect size –2.74; score 2). Birds of NW Mozambique and adjacent Malawi previously separated as race vincenti but these may represent a zone of intergradation with C. bennettii#R. Monotypic.


Inland E & S Tanzania S to S Malawi (S to Nsanje area) and C Mozambique; recorded also at base of Mt Kilimanjaro, in N Tanzania.

Descriptive notes

c. 22 cm. Male has red forehead to nape, forehead with small grey feather bases, white supercilium, dark stripe behind eye, dark-streaked ear-coverts, red malar stripe with... read more


Frequent “churr” notes and chattering series, very like those of C. bennettii. read more


Open woodland, savanna and thorn-scrub; occurs in open miombo (Brachystegia) woodland with... read more

Food and feeding

Mainly ants and their larvae. In pairs or family parties. Largely terrestrial, seeking food in grassy areas; hops clumsily on ground. In... read more


Oct–Nov in Malawi. Nest-hole excavated in dead tree or palm trunk. Clutch 3 eggs; no other details, but likely to be much as for ... read more


Apparently resident.

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Reasonably common. Occurs in Mikumi National Park, in Tanzania. True status masked by confusion over taxonomic position; further research required,... read more

Recommended citation

Winkler, H. & Christie, D.A. (2020). Reichenow's Woodpecker (Campethera scriptoricauda). 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).