Family Woodpeckers (Picidae)

Least Concern

White-barred Piculet (Picumnus cirratus)


French: Picumne frangé German: Zebrazwergspecht Spanish: Carpinterito variable

Picumnus cirratus


, 1825,

Brazil and Paraguay


Recent molecular phylogeny indicated sister relationship between present species and P. temminckii#R. Closely related also to P. dorbignyanus, and has sometimes been treated as conspecific with one or the other, or both; hybridizes frequently with P. temminckii in SE Brazil (São Paulo and Paraná), and occasionally with P. dorbignyanus in Bolivia. Interbreeds to limited extent also with P. albosquamatus and apparently with P. varzeae; form described as P. corumbanus considered by some to be hybrid between present species and P. albosquamatus (but see P. albosquamatus, below). SW races thamnophiloides, tucumanus and pilcomayensis intergrade in N Argentina, and sometimes considered together to form a separate species, but last of these also intergrades with nominate race in E Paraguay; similarly, N races confusus and macconnelli possibly form a distinct species. Further study needed in order to clarify relationships of this entire complex of taxa. Six subspecies currently recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • P. c. confusus Kinnear, 1927 – SW Guyana, extreme N Brazil (E Roraima) and French Guiana.
  • P. c. macconnelli Sharpe, 1901 – Marajo Piculet – E Amazon region of NE Brazil (W to lower R Tapajós).
  • P. c. thamnophiloides J. Bond & Meyer de Schauensee, 1942 – SE Bolivia (Chuquisaca) S along Andes to NW Argentina (N Salta).
  • P. c. tucumanus E. J. O. Hartert, 1909 – NW Argentina (W Salta S to La Rioja).
  • P. c. pilcomayensis Hargitt, 1891 – Pilcomayo Piculet – SE Bolivia (S Santa Cruz, E Tarija) and Paraguay S to NE Argentina (S to Santiago del Estero, N Buenos Aires and N Corrientes).
  • P. c. cirratus Temminck, 1825 – White-barred Piculet – SE Brazil (N Minas Gerais and Espírito Santo S to Paraná), S Mato Grosso and E Paraguay.
  • Descriptive notes

    10 cm; 6·3–12 g. Male has black forehead to nape, crown feathers with broad red tips often forming fairly solid patch, remainder spotted white; white to buffish... read more


    High descending or long and wavering “tsirrrr” used apparently for long-range... read more


    Frequents tall bushes and gallery forest of savannas, as well as open woodland and edges,... read more

    Food and feeding

    Small insects, including ants; also insect larvae and eggs, especially of wood-boring beetles; possibly also sap, obtained by wounding the... read more


    Jul–Dec in N, Sept–Mar in S. Nest-hole excavated by both sexes, at varying height but often low down (three nests were 2–... read more


    Probably resident.

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Fairly common locally; locally common in Argentina; probably common in some places, but no detailed data on numbers or densities.... read more

    Recommended citation

    Winkler, H., Christie, D.A. & Kirwan, G.M. (2019). White-barred Piculet (Picumnus cirratus). 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).