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Red-necked Woodpecker Campephilus rubricollis

  • Order: Piciformes
  • Family: Picidae
  • Polytypic: 3 subspecies
  • Authors: William S. Benish

The Red-necked Woodpecker is a large, spectacular Campephilus woodpecker of the rainforest. It is fairly common in Colombia and Venezuela and across the Guianas, and south through Amazonia to northern Bolivia. Along with Crimson-crested Woodpecker (Campephilus melanoleucos), it is the common large woodpecker of the Amazonian forest. The male is characterized by entirely black upperparts (with no white back streaks), and entirely red and rufous underparts, with no white streak up the neck, as is present in several other members of the genus. The entire head and neck is red, with an inconspicuous black-and-white spot on the lower feathers that cover the bird's ear opening. Females are similar but have a broad whitish stripe from the base of the bill to below and beyond the eye. It overlaps throughout Amazonia with Crimson-crested, which is easily distinguished from Red-necked by plumage in having barred (black and dirty white) underparts, and a distinctive white “V” on the back. In areas of overlap, the Red-necked generally prefers more intact tall forest. It occurs in pairs and family groups, and seeks out large dead trunks within the forest. Main vocalization is an explosive nasal call ("ngkah-ngkah" or "kikka") repeated frequently. The drum, as in most other members of the genus, is a loud “double-rap.”


© Thomas H. Davis

  • Year-round
  • Migration
  • Breeding
  • Non-Breeding

Recommended Citation

Benish, W. S. (2011). Red-necked Woodpecker (Campephilus rubricollis), version 1.0. In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA.