Piculus is a genus of birds in the woodpecker family Picidae that are found in Central and South America.

Flickr - Rainbirder - Rufous-winged Woodpecker (Piculus simplex) male.jpg
Adult male rufous-winged woodpecker (Piculus simplex)
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Piciformes
Family: Picidae
Tribe: Picini
Genus: Piculus
Spix, 1824

See text


The genus was introduced by the German naturalist Johann Baptist von Spix in 1824.[1] The type species was subsequently designated as the golden-green woodpecker (Piculus chrysochloros) by the American ornithologist Harry C. Oberholser in 1923.[2] The generic name is a diminutive of the Latin word Picus meaning "woodpecker".[3]

The genus forms part of the woodpecker subfamily Picinae and has a sister relationship to the genus Dryocopus whose species are found in Eurasia and the Americas. The genus Piculus is a member of the tribe Picini and belongs to a clade that contains five genera: Colaptes, Piculus, Mulleripicus, Dryocopus and Celeus.[4]

The genus contains seven species:[5]

Image Scientific name Common Name Distribution
  Piculus simplex Rufous-winged woodpecker Costa Rica, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama. Formerly considered to be a subspecies of the white-throated woodpecker.
  Piculus callopterus Stripe-cheeked woodpecker Panama. Formerly considered to be a subspecies of the white-throated woodpecker.
Piculus litae Lita woodpecker western Colombia and northwestern Ecuador
  Piculus leucolaemus White-throated woodpecker The Amazon Basin, Brazil, mainly in Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia
  Piculus flavigula Yellow-throated woodpecker Brazil and the entire Amazon Basin; also in the Guianas, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Peru, Suriname and Venezuela
  Piculus chrysochloros Golden-green woodpecker The Amazon Basin in the countries of Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Paraguay, Peru and Suriname
  Piculus aurulentus Yellow-browed woodpecker Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay.

Five other species, formerly placed here, are now in Colaptes.


  1. ^ von Spix, Johann Baptist (1824). Avium species novae, quas in itinere per Brasiliam annis MDCCCXVII-MDCCCXX (in Latin). Monachii [München]: Typis Franc. Seraph. Hübschmanni. Index p. 3. The link is to a scan of the 2nd edition published in 1838–1839.
  2. ^ Oberholser, Harry C. (1923). "Chloronerpes Swainson versus Piculus Spix". Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington. 36: 201–202.
  3. ^ Jobling, James A. (2010). The Helm Dictionary of Scientific Bird Names. London: Christopher Helm. p. 306. ISBN 978-1-4081-2501-4.
  4. ^ Shakya, S.B.; Fuchs, J.; Pons, J.M.; Sheldon, F.H. (2017). "Tapping the woodpecker tree for evolutionary insight". Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 116: 182–191. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2017.09.005.
  5. ^ Gill, Frank; Donsker, David, eds. (2019). "Woodpeckers". World Bird List Version 9.2. International Ornithologists' Union. Retrieved 6 August 2019.