Little woodpecker

The little woodpecker (Veniliornis passerinus) is a species of bird in the family Picidae, the woodpeckers, piculets, and wrynecks. It is found in a wide range of wooded habitats in a large part of South America east of the Andes, and generally common. Unlike other similar and comparably sized members of the genus Veniliornis, the little woodpecker lacks a contrasting yellow nape.

Little woodpecker
Veniliornis passerinus.jpg
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Piciformes
Family: Picidae
Genus: Veniliornis
V. passerinus
Binomial name
Veniliornis passerinus
(Linnaeus, 1766)

Picus passerinus Linnaeus, 1766


In 1760 the French zoologist Mathurin Jacques Brisson included a description of the little woodpecker in his Ornithologie based on a specimen collected in Saint-Domingue (now Haiti). He used the French name Le petit pic de S. Domingue and the Latin name Picus dominicensis minor.[2] Although Brisson coined Latin names, these do not conform to the binomial system and are not recognised by the International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature.[3] When in 1766 the Swedish naturalist Carl Linnaeus updated his Systema Naturae for the twelfth edition he added 240 species that had been previously described by Brisson.[3] One of these was the little woodpecker. Linnaeus included a terse description, coined the binomial name Picus passerinus and cited Brisson's work.[4] Linnaeus mistakenly specified the type location as Dominica. This has been corrected to Cayenne in French Guiana.[5] The specific name passerinus is from Latin and means "sparrow like".[6] This species is now placed in the genus Veniliornis that was introduced by the French ornithologist Charles Lucien Bonaparte in 1854.[7]


  1. ^ BirdLife International (2012). "Veniliornis passerinus". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2012. Retrieved 26 November 2013.
  2. ^ Brisson, Mathurin Jacques (1760). Ornithologie, ou, Méthode contenant la division des oiseaux en ordres, sections, genres, especes & leurs variétés (in French and Latin). Volume 4. Paris: Jean-Baptiste Bauche. pp. 75–77, Plate 4 fig 2. |volume= has extra text (help) The two stars (**) at the start of the paragraph indicates that Brisson based his description on the examination of a specimen.
  3. ^ a b Allen, J.A. (1910). "Collation of Brisson's genera of birds with those of Linnaeus". Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History. 28: 317–335. hdl:2246/678.
  4. ^ Linnaeus, Carl (1766). Systema naturae : per regna tria natura, secundum classes, ordines, genera, species, cum characteribus, differentiis, synonymis, locis (in Latin). Volume 1, Part 1 (12th ed.). Holmiae (Stockholm): Laurentii Salvii. p. 174. |volume= has extra text (help)
  5. ^ Peters, James Lee, ed. (1948). Check-list of Birds of the World. Volume 6. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press. p. 172. |volume= has extra text (help)
  6. ^ Jobling, J.A. (2018). del Hoyo, J.; Elliott, A.; Sargatal, J.; Christie, D.A.; de Juana, E. (eds.). "Key to Scientific Names in Ornithology: passerinum / passerinus". Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions. Retrieved 2 April 2018.
  7. ^ Bonaparte, Charles Lucien (1854). "Quadro dei volucri zigodattili, ossia passeri a piedi scansori". L'Ateneo Italiano Raccolta di Documenti e Memorie Relative al Progresso delle Scienze Fisiche (in Italian and Latin). 2: 116–129 [125].

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