Family Woodpeckers (Picidae)

Least Concern

White Woodpecker (Melanerpes candidus)


French: Pic dominicain German: Weißspecht Spanish: Carpintero blanco

Picus candidus


, 1796,



Distinctive; sometimes placed in monotypic genus Leuconerpes, but exhibits many morphological similarities to typical Melanerpes. Monotypic.


Coastal Suriname and French Guiana, lower Amazon (W to R Madeira), and from extreme SE Peru (Pampas del Heath), S Mato Grosso and NE Brazil (N Maranhão to Pernambuco) S to E Bolivia, N Argentina (S to Córdoba, N Buenos Aires) and Uruguay#R.

Descriptive notes

24–29 cm; 98–136 g. Smallish to medium-sized, very distinctive woodpecker. Male has almost entire head and underparts white to creamy-white, occasionally slightly... read more


Common call when perched “ghirreh” or “kreer”; very distinctive “kirr... read more


Principally dry subtropical forest, woodland and open wooded areas, savannas with scattered trees,... read more

Food and feeding

Predominantly fruits, also seeds and honey; in addition, insects, including wild bees and wasps and their larvae. Also recorded feeding on... read more


Season Sept–Nov. Possibly social breeder, but details insufficiently known. Nest not described; recorded nesting in palm trees,... read more


Apparently resident. Recent records in coastal Rio Grande do Sul (Brazil) possibly only of... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). No data on numbers and density; probably not uncommon. Rare in Peru. Occurs in several protected areas, such as Serra da Canastra and... read more

Recommended citation

Winkler, H., Christie, D.A. & Kirwan, G.M. (2019). White Woodpecker (Melanerpes candidus). 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).