Family Woodpeckers (Picidae)

Least Concern

Scaly-breasted Woodpecker (Celeus grammicus)


French: Pic de Verreaux German: Gelbflankenspecht Spanish: Carpintero rojizo

Picus grammicus

Natterer and Malherbe

, 1845,

Marabitanas, upper Rio Negro, Brazil


Recent molecular study found this species and C. undatus to be sister-species, or possibly even conspecific, the two being sister to C. castaneus#R. Proposed race undulatus, described from R Mocho (R Caura area, in SC Venezuela), known only from type locality; now included within nominate. Four subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • C. g. grammicus (Natterer & Malherbe, 1845) – SE Colombia and S Venezuela S to NE & E Peru and W Brazil (E to lower R Negro and R Purus); also French Guiana (Nouragues area).
  • C. g. verreauxii (Malherbe, 1858) – SC Colombia (W Meta to Putumayo) to E Ecuador.
  • C. g. subcervinus Todd, 1937 – Brazil, S of R Amazon, from R Purus E to lower R Tapajós and S to N Mato Grosso.
  • C. g. latifasciatus Seilern, 1936 – SE Peru and SW Brazil (upper R Madeira) S to N Bolivia (Beni).
  • Descriptive notes

    c. 23–26 cm; 63–75 g (grammicus), 77–82 g (verreauxii), 75–87 g (latifasciatus). Male has rufous-chestnut forehead to... read more


    Common call a loud, abrupt, slightly nasal whistle, “curry-kuuu” or “doit-gua... read more


    Inhabits rainforest, humid terra firme and várzea forests, forest edge,... read more

    Food and feeding

    Ants and fruit. Sometimes in groups of 3 or 4 birds, probably family parties; frequently associates with mixed-species groups. Forages... read more


    Feb–Apr in Venezuela, possibly somewhat later in Brazil. No other information available.


    Presumably resident.

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Rather uncommon to common; uncommon in Peru; uncommon to fairly comon in Ecuador. Inconspicuous and not often seen. Occurs at La Selva (Ecuador),... read more

    Recommended citation

    Winkler, H. & Christie, D.A. (2019). Scaly-breasted Woodpecker (Celeus grammicus). 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 12 December 2019).