Family Woodpeckers (Picidae)

Least Concern

Syrian Woodpecker (Dendrocopos syriacus)


French: Pic syriaque German: Blutspecht Spanish: Pico sirio

Picus syriacus

Hemprich and Ehrenberg

, 1833,

Mount Lebanon


A member of the D. major species-group (see that species); hybridizes rarely with D. major and D. assimilis. Some geographical variation, e.g. smaller birds in N Iran and Transcaucasia named as race transcaucasicus, often with more white in outer tail, while latter population and also those of Asia Minor tend to be darker below, but overlap in characters exists between these and other populations; similarly, balcanicus (E Balkans), with dark flank marks, and supposedly larger milleri (S Iran) matched by individuals from elsewhere in range; subdivision into races seems unwarranted. Monotypic.


Austria, Czech Republic, Poland and S Belarus E to Ukraine and SW Russia, and S to Balkans, Turkey, Levant countries, extreme NE Egypt (NE Sinai), N Iraq, Transcaucasia, and to N, W & S Iran. Recent isolated record in W Kazakhstan#R#R.

Descriptive notes

23 cm; 55–63 g (Iran), 70–82 g (C Europe). Male has buffy nasal tufts and lower forehead, white to creamy upper forehead, black crown (rarely, a few scattered red... read more


Commonest call a single “kewg” (better rendered as “püg”, or “... read more


Open country with wooded areas. Often in plantations of all kinds, including olive, pecan (... read more

Food and feeding

Animal food and a relatively large amount of plant material. Beetles and their larvae, ants, lepidopterous larvae (even hairy ones) and... read more


Lays from mid- Apr to May, rarely to Jun. Lateral swinging displays and aerial chasing. Nest-hole excavated by both sexes, mostly by male,... read more


Resident and dispersive. Long distances covered during dispersal, but no seasonal movements have... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Common in most parts of range. European population estimated at c. 170,000 pairs, including 80,000 or more in Romania and at least 30... read more

Recommended citation

Winkler, H., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (2019). Syrian Woodpecker (Dendrocopos syriacus). 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 10 December 2019).