Family Woodpeckers (Picidae)

Least Concern

Southern Andean Flicker (Colaptes rupicola)


French: Pic des rochers German: Südandenspecht Spanish: Carpintero andino meridional
Other common names: Andean Flicker (when lumped with C. cinereicapillus)

Colaptes rupicola


, 1840,

no locality = Sicasica, La Paz, Bolivia


Hitherto considered conspecific with C. cinereicapillus, but differs in its greyish-buff face, throat and breast and creamy-buff belly and rump (vs rich tan-buff and yellow-buff respectively) (2); loose butterfly-shaped spotting on breast vs close-packed long barring (3); red on nape (2); red of moustachial shot through almost entire moustache vs confined to distal end (ns[1]); slightly shorter tail (mean 115, n=20, vs 128, n=21, effect size −2.3, score 2); narrow hybrid zone N of L Junín, C Peru#R (2). Reported vocal differences from C. cinereicapillus#R merit further investigation. Plumage characters#R and recent phylogenetic analysis#R indicate that present species is sister to C. pitius. Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • C. r. puna Cabanis, 1883 – C & S Peru.
  • C. r. rupicola d’Orbigny, 1840 – W, C & S Bolivia, N Chile (Tarapacá) and NW Argentina (Jujuy S to Catamarca).
  • Descriptive notes

    c. 32 cm; 142–204 g, female c. 5% lighter than male. Male has dark slate-grey forehead to hindneck, blacker at side, sometimes trace of red on hindneck, thin black... read more


    Loud whistled “tew-tew-tew”, very like call of Greater Yellowlegs (Tringa... read more


    Open country and forest edge at high elevations; broken, rolling country favoured over flat land.... read more

    Food and feeding

    Insects, including large lepidopteran and coleopteran larvae. Beetles (Scara­beidae, Melolonthinae, Rutelinae) and noctuid moths... read more


    Season probably Sept–Nov in C Peru, and Jan–Mar elsewhere; possibly breeds also at other times of year; cold and snowfall in... read more


    Probably some seasonal movements, with cold temperatures or snow forcing birds to retreat from high... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Common to fairly common; locally very common. Noisy and conspicuous, difficult to overlook where present. Occurs in Machu Picchu... read more

    Recommended citation

    Winkler, H. & Christie, D.A. (2019). Southern Andean Flicker (Colaptes rupicola). 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).