Striped Woodpecker Dryobates lignarius


Up until recently the Striped Woodpecker, along with the closely related Checkered Woodpecker (Veniliornis mixtus) were considered to belong in the northern hemisphere genus Picoides. This is because these woodpeckers are small, temperate and black and white in plumage. Other small woodpeckers in the Neotropics are greenish rather than the classic black and white common in small woodpeckers of the northern temperate regions. Molecular work has clarified that the Striped (and Checkered) woodpeckers are actually without a doubt in the Veniliornis genus, a group of Neotropical woodpeckers that are greenish in color! This then begs the question, why are temperate small woodpeckers black and white, while tropical ones tend to be greenish? Is it a form of camouflage? Are tree trunks distinctly greener in the tropics? The Striped Woodpecker is an uncommon to low density species found in both temperate (Nothofagus spp.) forests, as well as dry forests farther north on the Chilean side of the Andes. There is an isolated subspecies in Bolivia which biogeographically and ecologically is almost certainly more closely related to the Checkered Woodpecker, and it could also be an entirely different species? Striped and Checkered woodpeckers are not found sympatrically, and this is a good thing because they are very similar. The Striped is darker, and more clearly barred above, and striped below; in addition it has fewer and wider pale bars on the tail and a more distinct face pattern showing a dark mask surrounded by pale.

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© Natxo Areta

  • Year-round
  • Migration
  • Breeding
  • Non-Breeding

Recommended Citation

Striped Woodpecker (Dryobates lignarius), In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. retrieved from Neotropical Birds Online: