Family Woodpeckers (Picidae)

Least Concern

White-bellied Woodpecker (Dryocopus javensis)


French: Pic à ventre blanc German: Weißbauchspecht Spanish: Picamaderos ventriblanco

Picus Javensis


, 1821,



Closely related to D. hodgei, and sometimes considered conspecific. NW race hodgsonii appears to differ from others in morphology and voice, and may be a full species#R, while recent study found confusus to be genetically distinct and suggested that this and some other island forms possibly merit species status#R; comprehensive analytical study required in order to clarify internal taxonomy of this complex of taxa. Form esthloterus (supposedly with thinner bill and less white on head) is provisionally recognized here, but may not be safely separable from confusus. Proposed race buettikoferi (from Nias I) appears indistinguishable from nominate; samarensis (from Samar, Calicoan and Bohol, in E Philippines) synonymized with pectoralis. Subspecies name philippinensis frequently misspelt as philippensis. Race cebuensis almost certainly extinct. Fifteen subspecies provisionally recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • D. j. hodgsonii (Jerdon, 1840) – peninsular India in Western Ghats, S Madhya Pradesh, and Odisha to N Andhra Pradesh.
  • D. j. forresti Rothschild, 1922 – montane N Myanmar and adjacent SW China (SW Sichuan, NW & S Yunnan).
  • D. j. richardsi Tristram, 1879 – Korea; extinct on Tsushima I (Japan).
  • D. j. feddeni (Blyth, 1863) – Myanmar (except N), most of Thailand, and Indochina.
  • D. j. javensis (Horsfield, 1821) – S Thailand S to Sumatra and Nias I, Java, Bali, and Borneo and associated islands, including N Natunas.
  • D. j. parvus (Richmond, 1902) – Simeulue I (off NW Sumatra).
  • D. j. esthloterus Parkes, 1971 – N Luzon (N Philippines).
  • D. j. confusus (Stresemann, 1913) – C & S Luzon (N Philippines).
  • D. j. mindorensis (Steere, 1890) – Mindoro.
  • D. j. hargitti (Sharpe, 1884) – Palawan.
  • D. j. philippinensis (Steere, 1890) – C Philippines (Panay, Masbate, Guimaras, Negros).
  • D. j. cebuensis Kennedy, 1987 – Cebu (probably extinct).
  • D. j. pectoralis (Tweeddale, 1878) – E Philippines (Samar, Calicoan, Leyte, Panaon, Bohol).
  • D. j. multilunatus (McGregor, 1907) – SE Philippines (Dinagat, Mindanao, Basilan).
  • D. j. suluensis (A. W. H. Blasius, 1890) – Sulu Is (SW Philippines).
  • Descriptive notes

    40–48 cm; 197–347 g. Large to very large woodpecker. Male has deep red forehead to nape and crest, fairly broad red malar stripe; rest of head, entire upperparts... read more


    Loud single “kiyow”, “kyah”, “kiauk” or “keer” call... read more


    Various types of evergreen and deciduous forest (showing preference for moist deciduous forest in W... read more

    Food and feeding

    Diet comprises large ants and their brood, termites (Isoptera), beetles and their (large) wood-boring larvae, also other insects, e.g.... read more


    Jan–Mar in India, Feb–May in Myanmar, late Mar to early May in Korea, Dec–Mar in Peninsular Malaysia, Mar–Apr on... read more



    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Race richardsi CITES I. Local and uncommon throughout range; uncommon to rare and very local in India, most frequent in N... read more

    Recommended citation

    Winkler, H., Christie, D.A. & Kirwan, G.M. (2019). White-bellied Woodpecker (Dryocopus javensis). 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 8 December 2019).