Levaillant's woodpecker

Levaillant's woodpecker (Picus vaillantii) or Levaillant's green woodpecker, is a large African member of the woodpecker family Picidae.

Levaillant’s woodpecker
Levaillant's Woodpecker - Oukaimeden Marocco 07 6526.jpg
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Piciformes
Family: Picidae
Genus: Picus
P. vaillantii
Binomial name
Picus vaillantii
Malherbe, 1847
Egg of Picus vaillantii MHNT


Levaillant's woodpecker is sometimes considered a subspecies of the European green woodpecker. It is monotypic, meaning it has no subspecies.

This species was named in honour of the French explorer, collector and ornithologist, François Le Vaillant.[2]

Distribution and habitatEdit

Levaillant's woodpecker is found in the three Maghreb countries Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia in northwest Africa. It breeds in mountain forests up to the treeline at around 2000m.


Levaillant's woodpecker is 30–33 cm in length with a 45–51 cm wingspan. It is very similar to the European green woodpecker and the Iberian Green woodpecker (especially females). Both Levaillant's woodpecker and the Iberian Green woodpecker were formerly considered subspecies of P. viridis.

Levaillant's woodpecker is dark green above and yellowish green below, with a crimson nape. The black moustache has a pale border above. The rump is chrome yellow and the outer webs of the primaries are barred black and white. The bill and feet are slate grey.

Sexes are similar except that the male has a crimson crown, whereas the female's crown is grey. Like .P. v. sharpei, both sexes lack the black on the lores and around the eye shown by most forms of the green woodpecker.

The call is a loud ringing laugh, plue, plue, plue, very like the green woodpecker's yaffle, but perhaps slightly faster.


This woodpecker's insect food is captured by a rapid outward flick of the long tongue, and gummed to its tip by sticky saliva. Though a large and heavy bird it has an easy, bounding flight. The nest is a hole in a tree, and 4-8 glossy white eggs are laid on wood chips.


  1. ^ BirdLife International (2012). "Picus vaillantii". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2012. Retrieved 26 November 2013.
  2. ^ Beolens, Bo; Watkins, Michael (2003). Whose Bird? Men and Women Commemorated in the Common Names of Birds. London: Christopher Helm. p. 205.