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Kaempfer's Woodpecker Celeus obrieni


The Kaempfer’s Woodpecker is a Brazilian endemic that is listed as Endangered. It was only recently rediscovered, and intensive surveys in past years have shown this woodpecker has a large range from the states of Maranhão and Piauí in the north south to Goiás and eastern Mato Grosso, over a broad area of the Cerrado biome. It appears to be dependent on dense woodlands, often along rivers, and nearly always with large areas of bamboo. Recent evidence suggests that, much like its closest relative, the Rufous-headed Woodpecker (Celeus spectabilis), it is a bamboo specialist, making it relatively unsurprising that it is nearly always local and uncommon. The species is frequently heavily outnumbered by the local form of Blond-crested Woodpecker (Celeus flavescens ochraceus). The Kaempfer’s (or Caatinga) Woodpecker spent a long period in obscurity, despite its relatively distinctive plumage, being originally collected by the German Emil Kaempfer in the 1920s, but not named until the 1970s, and not seen again until the early years of the 21st century. Its specific name honors the person who first drew attention to the specimen’s significance. The evidence of modern observations, and the results of a molecular study, have confirmed the bird’s status as a species.

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© Natxo Areta

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

Recommended Citation

Kaempfer's Woodpecker (Celeus obrieni), In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. retrieved from Neotropical Birds Online: