Olive woodpecker

Olive woodpecker
Dendropicos griseocephalus

Photo by Graham Searll (Bird Photos)

Common name:
olive woodpecker (en); pica-pau-de-cabeça-cinzenta (pt); pic olive (fr); pito oliváceo (es); goldrückenspecht (de)

Order Piciformes
Family Picidae

This species occurs in two disjunct areas in Africa. They are found from Angola, east through southern D.R. Congo and Zambia, and into Tanzania and southern Uganda. Also from southern Mozambique and southern Zimbabwe to eastern and southern South Africa.

These birds are 20 cm long and weigh 35-50 g.

The olive woodpecker is mostly found in moist tropical forests and moist scrublands, particularly along rivers and streams. They also use dry forests and dry scrublands. This species occurs at altitudes of 450-3.700 m.

They probe and peck the branches of trees and scrubs in search of wood-boring beetle larvae and pupae, ants, moths and other insects.

Olive woodpeckers breed in February-November, varying among different parts of their range. The nest is a hole excavated by both sexes in the trunk of a tree, where the female lays 2-3 eggs. The eggs are incubated by both sexes for 15-16 days. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge 24-26 days after hatching, but only become fully independent about 3 months later.

IUCN status – LC (Least Concern)
This species has a very large breeding range and is reported to be common to uncommon, being local to scarce in Tanzania, uncommon in Angola and generally common in South Africa. The population is suspected to be stable in the absence of evidence for any declines or substantial threats.

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