Family Woodpeckers (Picidae)


Sulu Pygmy Woodpecker (Picoides ramsayi)


French: Pic de Ramsay German: Suluspecht Spanish: Pico de las Sulu
Other common names: Sulu Woodpecker

Iyngipicus ramsayi


, 1881,

north-eastern Borneo; error = Sulu Islands


This species, along with P. temminckii, P. kizuki, P. maculatus, P. canicapillus, P. nanus and P. moluccensis, was previously placed in Dendrocopos, but molecular studies indicate that they all form a separate clade of very small species, evidently sister to the P. tridactylus clade#R#R; all seven have been combined in Yungipicus by some authors. Closely related to P. temminckii. Usually considered conspecific with P. maculatus, but was separated fairly recently#R on characters that can be scored against nearest-neighbour P. m. fulvifasciatus as follows: mid-brown vs brownish-black general coloration (2); lack of white spotting on wings and coverts (3); soft grey-and-buff streaks below, including broad mid-brown malar, with ill-defined yellow breastband vs black-spotted breast on yellowish-cream background, with narrow white-spotted black malar (3); full orange-red nape vs small red nape-side patches on male (ns[2]). Proposed race siasiensis (Siasi I, in C Sulus) considered insufficiently distinct to warrant recognition. Monotypic.


Sulu Is (SW Philippines).

Descriptive notes

13–14 cm. Male has dark brown forehead to crown, red over entire nape and along rear crown side, broad white supercilium from rear of eye to nape side, blackish-brown ear-... read more


Rapid “kikikikikikiki”, rising at start, generally somewhat lower-pitched and louder than... read more


Tropical lowland primary forest, mainly in forest clearings and forest edge; also mangroves and... read more

Food and feeding

Little information. Presumably feeds on, or mainly on, invertebrates. Forages singly and in pairs; joins mixed-species flocks. Frequently... read more


No information.


Presumed resident.

Status and conservation

VULNERABLE. Generally rare. Estimated global population (based on known records, descriptions of abundance and range size) 2500–9999 mature individuals, equating to c. 3500–... read more

Recommended citation

del Hoyo, J., Collar, N. & Christie, D.A. (2019). Sulu Pygmy Woodpecker (Picoides ramsayi). 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).