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Cardinal woodpecker

Dendropicos fuscescens
(Photo from Internet Bird Collection)

Common name:
cardinal woodpecker (en); pica-pau-cardeal (pt); pic cardinal (fr); pito cardenal (es); kardinalspecht (de)

Order Piciformes
Family Picidae

This African species is found throughout sub-Saharan Africa, excluding dense equatorial lowland forest, all the way to South Africa.

Cardinal woodpeckers are 14-15 cm long and weigh 28-32 g.

They are found in a wide range of habitats, from dense moist and dry forests, to savannas, scrublands, inland wetlands and also agricultural areas, gardens and urban areas.

They mostly glean ants and termites from the bark and leaves of trees, but will also eat beetles, caterpillars, wasps and spiders, and even seed pods and fruits.

Cardinal woodpeckers breed in July-December. Both sexes excavate the nest, which is usually a hole in the underside of a tree branch, although nesting in wooden fence posts has also been recorded. There the female lays 1-3 eggs which are incubated by both sexes for 12-13 days. The chicks are cared for by both parents and fledge 27 days after hatching, but only become fully independent 1-2 months later.

IUCN status – LC (Least Concern)
This species has an extremely large breeding range and is reported to be common and widespread in most of this range. The population is suspected to be stable in the absence of evidence for any declines or substantial threats.
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