Family Woodpeckers (Picidae)

Least Concern

White-winged Woodpecker (Dendrocopos leucopterus)


French: Pic à ailes blanches German: Weißflügelspecht Spanish: Pico aliblanco
Other common names: White-winged Pied Woodpecker

Picus (Dendrocopus) [sic] leucopterus


, 1871,

Yarkand, Kashgaria, in extreme west China


A member of the D. major species-group (which see); has hybridized very occasionally with D. major. Birds of the Turkestan uplands, described as race leptorhynchus, tend to be less white, but difference minor and not constant, and racial separation regarded as unwarranted; named races albipennis (SE Turkmenia), jaxartensis (lower R Syr Darya), korejevi (SW Alatau Mts) and spangenbergi (Chatkal Tau, E Uzbekistan) likewise insufficiently differentiated. Monotypic.


E of Aral Sea to S Kazakhstan, N & W Kyrgyzstan (N to S tip of L Balkhash) and W China (N Xinjiang to Karamay and Lop Nur), and S to SW Turkmenia (possibly also extreme NE Iran) and NE Afghanistan in W and Chinese Turkestan (S to edge of Kunlun Shan) in E.

Descriptive notes

22–23 cm; 67 g. Male has white forehead, black crown, red nape, black hindneck; thin white line above eye, white cheeks and ear-coverts (often stained); black malar... read more


Common call “kewk” or “kig”; also rattling calls. Drums.


Riparian woodland with poplars (Populus) and other softwoods, e.g. Juglans regia... read more

Food and feeding

No reliable information.


Egg-laying from late Mar to Apr. Nest-hole at 1–5 m in softwood tree (e.g. poplar, willow, walnut), also recorded in slope of... read more


Some nomadic movements outside breeding season, but essentially non-migratory.

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Previously considered Near Threatened. Appears to be common within its range. Little-known species; further study required, especially of its ecology. read more

Recommended citation

Winkler, H., Christie, D.A. & Kirwan, G.M. (2019). White-winged Woodpecker (Dendrocopos leucopterus). 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 11 December 2019).