Golden-olive woodpecker

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Golden-olive woodpecker
Golden-Olive Woodpecker.jpg
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Piciformes
Family: Picidae
Genus: Colaptes
Species: C. rubiginosus
Binomial name
Colaptes rubiginosus
(Swainson, 1820)[2]
  • Piculus rubiginosus Swainson, 1820
  • Piculus aeruginosus (Malherbe, 1862)

The golden-olive woodpecker (Colaptes rubiginosus) is a resident breeding bird from Mexico south and east to Guyana, northwest Argentina, Trinidad and Tobago. It was formerly placed in the genus Piculus (Benz et al., 2006). The scientific name rubiginosus means "full of rust", describing the color of the bird's wings and back.


The habitat of this woodpecker is forests, more open woodland, and cultivation. It is most common in the mountains. Two or three white eggs are laid in a nest hole in a tree and incubated by both sexes. The young are fed by regurgitation.


The golden-olive woodpecker is 22 cm long and weighs 68g. Adults are mainly golden olive above with some barring on the tail. The forecrown is grey, and the hindcrown red. The face is yellow-white and the underparts are barred black and yellowish. The bill is black. Adult males have a red moustachial strip which is lacking in the female.

Due to its habitat - mainly montane forest, separated by large rivers - it has evolved into about 20 subspecies. P. r. tobagensis from Tobago is larger and heavier-billed than the Trinidadian P. r. trinitatis. Some of the South American races have only very narrow yellow barring on the underparts, and Andean birds show a pale eyering.

Golden-olive woodpeckers mainly eat insects, including ants and beetle larvae, with some fruit and berries. The call of this bird is a loud wheep.


  • Benz, Brett W.; Robbins, Mark B. & Peterson, A. Townsend (2006): Evolutionary history of woodpeckers and allies (Aves: Picidae): Placing key taxa on the phylogenetic tree. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 40: 389–399. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2006.02.021
  • ffrench, Richard; O'Neill, John Patton & Eckelberry, Don R. (2003): A guide to the birds of Trinidad and Tobago. Christopher Helm, London. ISBN 0-7136-6759-1
  • Hilty, Steven L. (2003): Birds of Venezuela. Christopher Helm, London. ISBN 0-7136-6418-5

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