Family Woodpeckers (Picidae)

Least Concern

Spot-breasted Woodpecker (Colaptes punctigula)


French: Pic de Cayenne German: Tüpfelbrustspecht Spanish: Carpintero moteado

Picus punotigula

[sic] Boddaert

, 1783,



Sometimes placed in a separate genus Chrysoptilus with the other “forest flickers” C. melanochloros (with C. melanolaimus) and C. atricollis, but phylogenetic analyses indicate that placement in Colaptes more appropriate#R. Other named races are lucescens (E Darién, In Panama), often misspelt as lutescens, not reliably distinct from ujhelyii; notatus (Colombia), known only from unique type, possibly an aberrant punctipectus; and speciosus (E Peru) and rubidipectus (NE Brazil N of Amazon), both considered indistinguishable from guttatus. Six subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • C. p. ujhelyii (Madarász, 1912) – E Panama (E Darién) and N Colombia.
  • C. p. striatigularis (Chapman, 1914) – WC Colombia.
  • C. p. zuliae (Cory, 1915) – NW Venezuela.
  • C. p. punctipectus (Cabanis & Heine, 1863) – E Colombia and most of Venezuela (except NW).
  • C. p. punctigula (Boddaert, 1783) – the Guianas and adjacent N Brazil (Amapá).
  • C. p. guttatus (Spix, 1824) – Amazonia from E Ecuador and E Peru E to NE Brazil (Pará), S to NW Bolivia and N Mato Grosso.
  • Descriptive notes

    c. 18–21 cm; 50–70 g (punctigula), 75–79 g (guttatus from upper Amazonia). Male has black forehead and forecrown, red hindcrown and nape (... read more


    Rather high-pitched weak and nasal “wha” or “kah” or “keeh” in... read more


    Wide array of wooded and open habitats: occurs in rainforest, deciduous and gallery forest, v... read more

    Food and feeding

    Ants and their brood. Lives in pairs or family groups. Arboreal foraging takes place at medium heights and lower; also descends to ground... read more


    Oct–May in Colombia, Jun–Aug in the Guianas, Apr–Oct in Amazonian Basin, and Feb–Sept in Peru. In close encounters... read more



    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Rare in Panama; fairly common in rest of range. Occurs in Laguna de Sonso Reserve (Colombia) and in Manu National Park (Peru). Adaptable species; its... read more

    Recommended citation

    Winkler, H. & Christie, D.A. (2019). Spot-breasted Woodpecker (Colaptes punctigula). 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 15 November 2019).