Though currently categorized as “Least Concern” on a global scale (IUCN 2011), in Chilean provinces VI, VII and VIII, the Magellanic Woodpecker is considered “Endangered” (Glade 1993), and “Vulnerable” in the rest of Chile and Argentina (Glade 1993, Categorización de las aves de la Argentina 2008). More than 30% of the austral temperate Chilean and Argentinian forests are located in protected areas, representing 3,000,000 ha of various forested habitats in which the Magellanic Woodpecker is found. It is not guaranteed that the species is effectively out of risk, but it has greater chances to persist than without any protected areas.
Effects of human activity on populations
Forest loss and fragmentation are affecting the temperate forests of southern South America at an increasing rate (Armesto et al. 1998), so these practices also represent a threat for the Magellanic Woodpecker (Ojeda 2009).
The distribution of the species has contracted and was fragmented as a consequence of native forest clearance, especially in south-central Chile, where the species now is restricted to protected and relict areas. Changes in structural forest components after timber extraction, forest conversion to exotic plantations, and fragmentation due to forest clearance are the main threats to Magellanic Woodpecker populations. The species is protected from hunting in both Chile and Argentina where is not or very rarely illegally hunted.