Family Woodpeckers (Picidae)

Least Concern

Sahelian Woodpecker (Dendropicos elachus)


French: Pic gris German: Wüstenspecht Spanish: Pito saheliano
Other common names: Little Grey Woodpecker

Dendropicos elachus


, 1919,

Senegal and coast of Guinea




SW Mauritania, Senegambia, and in narrow belt from C Mali E to C Chad and WC Sudan and S to NE Nigeria (to Aliya) and extreme N Cameroon (S to around Maroua); possible presence between Senegambia and C Mali requires confirmation.

Descriptive notes

12–14 cm; 17–21 g. Male has pale grey-brown forehead to mid-crown, dull red hindcrown and nape, white supercilium from behind eye to rear of ear-coverts, pale... read more


Common call a grating rattle, “skree-eek-eee-eee-eeee-ee-eee-eeek”, often repeated;... read more


Lightly wooded steppe and semi-desert, scattered trees in dry streambeds and wadis. Lowalnds; to... read more

Food and feeding

Poorly known. Diet insect larvae. Forages in trees, such as Balanites and acacias (Acacia), by pecking and hammering.


Breeds Jan–Feb in Senegal and Mali, Mar–May in Niger, about Oct in Chad. Nest in dead branch of acacia. No other information. read more



Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Rare and little-known species. Sparsely distributed throughout its range. Rare in Senegal, occurs in N at Richard Toll; no recent records from Gambia... read more

Recommended citation

Winkler, H. & Christie, D.A. (2020). Sahelian Woodpecker (Dendropicos elachus). 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 16 February 2020).