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Celeus castaneus

Chestnut-colored Woodpecker

  • Order: Piciformes
  • Family: Picidae
  • Monotypic

Authors: Griswold, Sophie

Celeus castaneus

Finca Chavez, Sarapiqui, Costa Rica; 13 April 2008 © Alex Vargas

The Chestnut-colored Woodpecker is one of the fanciest of the woodpeckers in Central America. It is a member of the genus Celeus, which is composed of numerous "chestnut" colored woodpeckers, all of which also have a characteristic "hammer-head" crest. The Chestnut-colored occurs farther north than any of its congeners, ranging from southern Mexico south to extreme northwestern Panama. Overall the bird is bright chestnut-brown. The crest is a paler light rufous-brown, the underparts and back have extensive black chevron-shaped scaling, it has a red "mustache" stripe, and the bill is light yellow. It overlaps in Honduras, Costa Rica, and Panama with the rather similar Cinnamon Woodpecker (Celeus loricatus), but this species has a red throat and has much bolder black markings on yellowish underparts. Chestnut-colored Woodpecker occurs mainly in lowland rainforest and forest edge along the Caribbean slope. It often forages relatively low in the midstory, and sometimes favors Heliconia thickets and secondary forest. In contrast, the similar Cinnamon Woodpecker is typically found in the canopy of tall forest. The most vocalization is a "peew-ekk-ekk"Like many other species in the genus Celeus, Chestnut-colored Woodpecker sometimes forages on termites and ants, and also on Cecropia fruit.

Recommended Citation

Griswold, Sophie. 2012. Chestnut-colored Woodpecker (Celeus castaneus), Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Ithaca: Cornell Lab of Ornithology; retrieved from Neotropical Birds Online:

This map is based on the maps available from the NatureServe InfoNatura website. The data for these maps are provided by NatureServe in collaboration with Robert Ridgely, James Zook, The Nature Conservancy - Migratory Bird Program, Conservation International - CABS, World Wildlife Fund - US, and Environment Canada - WILDSPACE.

  • Migration/Movement:Resident (nonmigratory)
  • Primary Habitat:Tropical lowland evergreen forest
  • Foraging Strata:Midstory/Canopy
  • Foraging Behavior:Probe
  • Diet:Terrestrial invertebrates
  • Sociality:Solitary/Pairs
  • Mating System:Unknown
  • Nest Form:Cavity
  • Clutch: 3 - 4
  • IUCN Status:Least Concern