Cuban Green Woodpecker Xiphidiopicus percussus

  • Order: Piciformes
  • Family: Picidae
  • Polytypic: 2 subspecies
  • Authors: Andrew Farnsworth


Distinguishing Characteristics

Cuban Green Woodpecker is a medium sized woodpecker. Despite the name, only the upperparts are green. It also has a black crown and throat; the sides of the head are white, crossed by a black stripe behind the eye; the nape and the upper breast are red; and the underparts are yellow, streaked with black. There is a short crest on the rear crown.

Similar Species

None. No other species of woodpecker that occurs on Cuba has unmarked green upperparts. Yellow-bellied Sapsucker (Sphyrapicus varius) has a facial pattern that is vaguely similar to that of Cuban Green Woodpecker, but the sapsucker has black and white upperparts (including a broad white stripe along the closed wing), and has a broad black breast band.

Detailed Description

A distinctive, relatively small woodpecker of the general size and shape of a sapsucker, occasionally appearing crested, with bright olive-green upperparts and yellow underparts (ML 39307). Nape and upper breast are bright red with some black bases to feathers usually visible, with black chin and throat; red crown in males, black crown striped white in females. White face and supercilium, punctuated by black border to cheek. Yellow breast is streaked with black or greenish-black, yellow on flanks barred with black. Crissum is yellow with black barring.  Females is significantly smaller than the male, generally shorter-billed.  Juveniles are generally duller in plumage, showing more barring and streaking below.

Bare Parts

Iris: brown

Bill: bluish black

Tarsi and toes: greenish to grayish olive

Bare parts color data from Winkler et al. (1995)


Total length: 21-25 cm (Winkler et al. 1995, Raffaele et al. 1998)

Mass: 48-97 g.  Males heavier than females. (Winkler et al. 1995)

Recommended Citation

Farnsworth, A. (2012). Cuban Green Woodpecker (Xiphidiopicus percussus), version 1.0. In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA.