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Dendrocopos is a widespread genus of woodpeckers from Asia and Europe and Northern Africa. The species range from the Philippines to the British Isles.

Dendrocopos leucotos 2.jpg
White-backed woodpecker (Dendrocopos leucotos)
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Piciformes
Family: Picidae
Subfamily: Picinae
Genus: Dendrocopos
Koch, 1816

See text

The genus was introduced by the German naturalist Carl Ludwig Koch in 1816.[1] The name Dendrocopus is a combination of the Greek words dendron , meaning "tree" and kopos, "striking ".[2] The type species was specified as the great spotted woodpecker (Dendrocopos major) by the Scottish ornithologist Edward Hargitt in 1890 in his catalogue of woodpeckers in the collection of the British Museum.[3][4]

The genus Dendrocopos at one time contained around 25 species. A molecular phylogenetic analysis of the pied woodpeckers published in 2015 found that Dendrocopos was polyphyletic. In the rearranged genera the number of species in Dendrocopos was reduced to 12 (or 13) as listed below.[5][6]


The Amami woodpecker, (Dendrocopos owstoni) is considered to be a separate species by the Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive,[7] but as a subspecies of the white-backed woodpecker in the list maintained by the International Ornithologists' Union.[6]


  1. ^ Koch, C.L. (1816). System der baierischen Zoologie (in German). Volume 1. Nürnberg: Stein. pp. xxvii, 72. 
  2. ^ Jobling, James A (2010). The Helm Dictionary of Scientific Bird Names. London: Christopher Helm. p. 133. ISBN 978-1-4081-2501-4. 
  3. ^ Peters, James Lee, ed. (1948). Check-list of Birds of the World. Volume 6. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press. p. 180. 
  4. ^ Hargitt, E. (1890). Volume 18: Catalogue of the Picariae in the collection of the British Museum. Catalogue of Birds in the British Museum. London: British Museum. p. 201. 
  5. ^ Fuchs, J.; Pons, J.M. (2015). "A new classification of the pied woodpeckers assemblage (Dendropicini, Picidae) based on a comprehensive multi-locus phylogeny". Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 88: 28–37. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2015.03.016. PMID 25818851. 
  6. ^ a b Gill, Frank; Donsker, David (eds.). "Woodpeckers". World Bird List Version 6.2. International Ornithologists' Union. Retrieved 5 May 2016. 
  7. ^ del Hoyo, J.; Collar, N.; Christie, D.A. (2016). "Amami Woodpecker (Dendrocopos owstoni)". In del Hoyo, J.; Elliott, A.; Sargatal, Sargatal; Christie, D.A.; de Juana, E. Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Barcelona, Spain: Lynx Edicions. Retrieved 7 May 2016. (subscription required)

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