Family Woodpeckers (Picidae)

Least Concern

Yellow-crowned Woodpecker (Leiopicus mahrattensis)


French: Pic mahratte German: Gelbscheitelspecht Spanish: Pico mahratta
Other common names: Yellow-fronted Pied Woodpecker

Picus Mahrattensis


, 1801,

Mahratta country, south-west India


Recent molecular analyses found this species to form a clade with L. auriceps and L. medius, being basal to those two#R. Previously thought to be closest to Dendrocopos atratus and D. macei. Variation mostly clinal, and named races aurocristatus (N Myanmar) and koelzi (NW Sri Lanka) thus unacceptable. Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • L. m. pallescens (Biswas, 1951) – E Pakistan (E of R Indus) and N & NW India.
  • L. m. mahrattensis (Latham, 1801) – Nepal and most of India E to Assam, Sri Lanka, and W, C & S Myanmar, E Cambodia, S Laos and S Annam, also WC Thailand#R#R.
  • Descriptive notes

    17–18 cm; 28–46 g. Male has golden-yellow forehead and forecrown, becoming red on hindcrown and nape, dark brown hindneck; white sides of head tinged or streaked... read more


    Feeble “peek” or sharp “click, click”, also “click-r-r-r-r”,... read more


    Dry to very dry open woodland and desert scrub, including deciduous woodland, second growth,... read more

    Food and feeding

    Bark-dwelling insects, also fruits and nectar. In particular, caterpillars (Geometridae), grubs (Elateridae, Curculionidae, Buprestidae)... read more


    Feb–Jul, also Dec, in Indian Subcontinent; Feb–Apr in SE Asia. Nest-hole excavated at 1–10 m in dead section of live tree... read more


    None recorded.

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Frequent in Pakistan, locally common in India, uncommon in Nepal, common in SE Sri Lanka; no recent records from Bangladesh; rare to uncommon in SE... read more

    Recommended citation

    Winkler, H. & Christie, D.A. (2020). Yellow-crowned Woodpecker (Leiopicus mahrattensis). 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 17 February 2020).