Gray-crowned Woodpecker Colaptes auricularis

  • Order: Piciformes
  • Family: Picidae
  • Monotypic
  • Authors: Cara Thompson and C. J. Beardmore


Geographic Variation

Colaptes auricularis is monotypic. A proposed northern subspecies, sonoriensis, was recognized by Baptista (1978), but was considered by Short (1982) as invalid, "the supposed race sonoriensis being based on worn (grayer) specimens".

Related Species

Colaptes auricularis is similar to the widespread, polytpic Colaptes rubiginosus (Golden-olive Woodpecker), and some authors (e.g. Peters 1948) considered auricularis to be a subspecies of rubiginosus. Baptista (1978) articulated the argument for recognizing auricularis as a species.

Described as Chloronerpes auricularis Salvin and Godman 1889; type locality Zautipa, Sierra Madre del Sur, Guerrero, Mexico

Later transferred to the genus Piculus (Peters 1948). Phylogenetic analysis of DNA sequence data, however, reveal that Piculus is paraphyletic: auricularis and rubiginosus are among a group of "Piculus" that is embedded in the flicker genus Colaptes, and so are not related to "true" Piculus (Benz et al. 2006, Moore et al. 2011). Consequently auricularis now is known as Colaptes auricularis (Banks et al. 2002).

Recommended Citation

Thompson, C. and C. J. Beardmore (2014). Gray-crowned Woodpecker (Colaptes auricularis), version 1.0. In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA.