Pale-billed Woodpecker Campephilus guatemalensis

  • Order: Piciformes
  • Family: Picidae
  • Polytypic: 3 subspecies
  • Authors: Thomas S. Schulenberg


  • Year-round
  • Migration
  • Breeding
  • Non-Breeding
Distribution of the Pale-billed Woodpecker
eBird range map for Pale-billed Woodpecker

Generated from eBird observations (Year-Round, 1900-present)

Distribution in the Americas

The Pale-billed Woodpecker is restricted to Central America, although within this region it is widely distributed. It occurs on the Atlantic coast from northeastern Mexico, in southern Tamaulipas, south continuously to the Atlantic slope in western Panama in Bocas del Toro (Monroe 1968, Land 1970, Ridgely and Gwynne 1989, Stiles and Skutch 1989, Howell and Webb 1995). On the Pacific slope, it occurs as far north as southern Sonora, northwestern Mexico (van Rossem 1945). Russell and Monson (1998) suggested that it may now be extirpated from Sonora, but there still are occasional reports from there (Héctor Gómez de Silva, pers. comm.). Otherwise, it occurs from Sinaloa, in northwestern Mexico, south continuously to western Panama in western Chiriquí (Monroe 1968, Land 1970, Ridgely and Gwynne 1989, Stiles and Skutch 1989, Howell and Webb 1995).

This species primarily occurs at lower elevations. It ranges from the lowlands up to 2000 m in Mexico (Howell and Webb 1995), but usually the upper elevational limit is lower farther south: 1500 m in Honduras (Monroe 1968), 1500 m on the Pacific slope in Costa Rica but to only 1000 m on the Atlantic slope there (Stiles and Skutch 1989), and to 1200 m in Panama (Ridgely and Gwynne 1989).

The Pale-billed Woodpecker is resident throughout its range (Land 1970, Ridgely and Gwynne 1989, Stiles and Skutch 1989, Howell and Webb 1995).

Distribution outside the Americas

Endemic to the Americas.


The Pale-billed Woodpecker is associated with forested habitats, although it is found within a variety of forest types. Perhaps the most commonly used habitat is tropical lowland evergreen forest, although in more xeric habitats on the Pacific slope from western Mexico south to northwestern Costa Rica Pale-billed Woodpecker also is found in tropical deciduous forests, and even in mangroves (Binford 1989, Howell and Webb 1995). In Honduras it also occurs locally in montane evergreen forest and in pine-oak forest.

This species is not confined to the forest interior, but also occurs at forest edge and in cut-over forest. It does require the presence of at least some forest, however, and is not present in areas that have been extensively deforested (Stiles and Skutch 1989).

Historical changes

No information.

Fossil history

No information.

Recommended Citation

Schulenberg, T. S. (2009). Pale-billed Woodpecker (Campephilus guatemalensis), version 1.0. In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA.