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Dryocopus galeatus

Helmeted Woodpecker

  • Order: Piciformes
  • Family: Picidae
  • Monotypic

Authors: Lammertink, Martjan, Kristina L. Cockle, Alejandro Bodrati, and Raphael E. F. Santos

Dryocopus galeatus

San Pedro department, Misiones, Argentina; 18 August 2010 © Martjan Lammertink

Confined to a small range in southern Brazil, eastern Paraguay and extreme northeast Argentina, the Helmeted Woodpecker is considered Vulnerable by BirdLife International, and it is a generally very infrequently observed species outside a handful of strongholds. It occurs from sea level up to about 1,000 m elevation, in semi-deciduous forests as well as in mixed forests with Paraná pines (Araucaria angustifolia). Helmeted Woodpecker is the smallest of the world’s Dryocopus and shows some similarities in voice and appearance to Celeus woodpeckers. Its namesake crest is large and red and can be held in a variety of positions. It is best distinguished from the similar Robust and Lineated Woodpeckers by its cinnamon face without any white. The territorial call of Helmeted Woodpecker can be heard from over 500 m away, but it typically remains silent for much of the time. One of the rarest and most difficult-to-find of the Neotropical woodpeckers. The global population, while difficult to estimate, is probably between 400 and 8900 individuals and is in decline because of loss of forest cover and the logging of mature forests.

Recommended Citation

Lammertink, Martjan, Kristina L. Cockle, Alejandro Bodrati, and Raphael E. F. Santos. 2012. Helmeted Woodpecker (Dryocopus galeatus), 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
  • Foraging Behavior:Peck
  • Diet:Terrestrial invertebrates
  • Sociality:Solitary/Pairs
  • Mating System:Monogamy
  • Nest Form:Cavity
  • Clutch: -
  • IUCN Status:Vulnerable