Family Woodpeckers (Picidae)

Least Concern

Smoky-brown Woodpecker (Leuconotopicus fumigatus)


French: Pic enfumé German: Rußspecht Spanish: Carpintero ahumado

Picus fumigatus


, 1840,

Yungas, Bolivia


Previously placed in genus Veniliornis; recently placed in Picoides, molecular analysis suggesting very close relationship to L. villosus (at that time included by most authors in Picoides)#R#R. Races intergrade to some extent; birds from SW Ecuador may be intermediate between nominate race and obscuratus. N Colombian (Santa Marta) birds previously separated as race exsul, those of NE Venezuelan mountains as tectricialis, and those of C Colombia and Ecuador as aureus, but all appear insufficiently different to warrant recognition. Five subspecies currently recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • L. f. oleagineus (Reichenbach, 1854) – SW & E Mexico (Nayarit to Guerrero, and SW Tamaulipas to Puebla and W Veracruz).
  • L. f. sanguinolentus (P. L. Sclater, 1859) – C & S Mexico (Veracruz and N Oaxaca) to W Panama.
  • L. f. reichenbachi (Cabanis & Heine, 1863) – N & NE Venezuela (Coastal Range).
  • L. f. fumigatus (d’Orbigny, 1840) – E Panama and Colombia (including Santa Marta Mts), Sierra de Perijá, and Andes from W Venezuela S through Ecuador and E Peru to W Bolivia and NW Argentina (Jujuy).
  • L. f. obscuratus (Chapman, 1927) – SW Ecuador (El Oro and W Loja) to NW Peru (Huancabamba and bend of R Marañón).
  • Descriptive notes

    18 cm; 31–40 g (sangui­nolentus), 36–42 g (oleagineus), 35–50 g (reichenbachi). Male has red forehead to nape, forehead and... read more


    Short “wick”, “chuk”, “pwik” or “quip”, softer and... read more


    Humid and wet forest, cloudforest, dry montane woodland with Eugenia, alder (Alnus... read more

    Food and feeding

    Small wood-boring beetles and their larvae comprise bulk of diet, occasionally supplemented with fruits. In pairs throughout year, but... read more


    Feb–Jun in Central America, Feb–Mar in N Venezuela, and Oct–Apr in Colombia. Nest-hole dug by both sexes, 1·5–8 m... read more



    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Fairly common to common in Central America, perhaps somewhat less common farther S; uncommon to fairly common in Ecuador, fairly common in Peru,... read more

    Recommended citation

    Winkler, H. & Christie, D.A. (2019). Smoky-brown Woodpecker (Leuconotopicus fumigatus). 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 8 December 2019).