Grey-headed woodpecker

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Grey-headed woodpecker
Gray-faced Woodpecker - Italy S4E5692.jpg
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Piciformes
Family: Picidae
Genus: Picus
Species: P. canus
Binomial name
Picus canus
Gmelin, 1788

The grey-headed woodpecker (Picus canus), also known as the grey-faced woodpecker, is a Eurasian member of the woodpecker family Piciformes.


It is 25–28 cm long and weighs 130-180 grams. Its plumage closely resembles its near relative the European green woodpecker. It has green upperparts, pale grey underparts and a yellow rump. It has a grey head with black moustache, and the male has a red crown. It has a shorter neck, slimmer bill and slightly rounder head than the green woodpecker.


Eggs of Picus canus

Grey-headed woodpeckers live in leaf forests and mixed forests. They breed in May and lay five to ten eggs which are brought up by both parents. The young hatch after 15–17 days, and learn to fly in four weeks.

In summer, the grey-headed woodpecker eats maggots, beetle larvae and other insects. In winter it takes seeds, and can even come to garden feeding places, especially if fat is offered.

Grey-headed Woodpecker.jpg
Call from the Central Himalayas


The Sibley-Monroe checklist has two birds called "grey-headed woodpecker", Picus canus and Dendropicos spodocephalus (syn.Mesopicos goertae). For the latter, see grey woodpecker.


  • Gorman, Gerard (2004): Woodpeckers of Europe: A Study of the European Picidae. Bruce Coleman, UK. ISBN 1-872842-05-4.