Family Woodpeckers (Picidae)

Least Concern

Scaly-bellied Woodpecker (Picus squamatus)


French: Pic écaillé German: Schuppengrünspecht Spanish: Pito escamoso

Picus squamatus


, 1831,

Simla–Almora district, western Himalayas


Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • P. s. flavirostris (Menzbier, 1886) – E Iran and S Turkmenistan, Afghanistan (except NE) and W Pakistan#R.
  • P. s. squamatus Vigors, 1831 – NE Afghanistan E to C Nepal#R.
  • Descriptive notes

    c. 35 cm; 156–194 g. Male has red forehead, crown and nape, usually some dark feather bases showing through (especially when worn), more orangey in narrow wedge down... read more


    Main call, also in flight, a melodious vibrating “klee-guh kleeguh” or “kuik-kuik... read more


    Coniferous and mixed coniferous forest, and forests with temperate deciduous trees, e.g. oaks (... read more

    Food and feeding

    Predominantly ants and termites (Isoptera), also larvae of wood-boring insects; berries also taken in winter. Forages singly or in pairs,... read more


    Laying late Apr to early Jun, mainly early to late May. Nest excavated by both sexes, in tree of wide range of species, including e.g. holm... read more


    Some individuals of Himalayan populations move to lower altitudes in winter.

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Common to fairly common, but rather local. Formerly extended west into Transcaspia, but no recent records; apparently extinct W of Afghanistan.... read more

    Recommended citation

    Winkler, H. & Christie, D.A. (2019). Scaly-bellied Woodpecker (Picus squamatus). 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 14 December 2019).