Magellanic Woodpecker Campephilus magellanicus

  • Order: Piciformes
  • Family: Picidae
  • Monotypic
  • Authors: M. L. Chazarreta and V. Ojeda


Geographic Variation

Monotypic; no geographic variation in plumage characteristics. Variation in size is unstudied.

Related Species

The name Campephilus ("lover of grubs") is related to the diet of this group that feed mainly on beetle larvae.
The first series of the species was collected by Parker King (1828), the Captain of the Adventure vessel, which was the supporting ship of the Beagle captained by FitzRoy during 1826-1830. The specimens collected by King are now preserved at the National Museum of Natural History, Washington, D.C. The specimens have been labeled as: Type: Picus magellanicus, Puerto Hambre, Estrecho de Magallanes.
Quote: Zool. Journ. III, P. 430, 1830.
The generic name Picus was given to nearly all woodpecker species in this era. Later, the species was considered to comprise a monotypic genus Ipocrantor named by the German ornithologists J. Cabanis and W. Heine (1863). The species continued to be called Ipocrantor magellanicus for many years (Housse 1945, Goodall 1957). In 1840, the species was placed in the genus Campephilus, named by G. R. Gray, who considered the Magellanic Woodpecker as congeneric with the northern Imperial and Ivory-billed woodpeckers. However, the similarities between the Magellanic Woodpecker and the northern ivory-bills seem to be the result of parallel but independent evolution of large woodpeckers from a basic ancestral stock of Phloeoceastes in central and South America (Short 1970). Short accommodated Magellanic Woodpecker and the northern ivory-bills and the Phloeoceastes woodpeckers in a single genus Campephilus, comprising 11 species. These species are similar in coloration, habits, and tail and foot structure (Short 1970). It seems that the greatest diversification of the Campephilus genus occurred in South America after the lineage ancestor entered South America across the Isthmus of Panama (Moore et al. 2011). The estimated divergence date between two sister clades comprising the northern ivory-bills and the rest of many other Campephilus, occurred 3.2 MYBP (Moore et al. 2011).

Recommended Citation

Chazarreta, M. L. and V. Ojeda (2011). Magellanic Woodpecker (Campephilus magellanicus), version 1.0. In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA.