5 ssp., see text
Adults are mainly black above, with a red crest and whitish lines from the base of the bill, down the neck and shoulders (though individuals from the south-eastern part of its range commonly lack the line on the shoulders). The underparts are whitish, heavily barred with black. They show white on the wings in flight. Adult males have a red line from the bill to the throat (malar) and a red forehead. In adult females, these plumage features are black. The bill is typically black in both sexes, though pale-billed individuals regularly are seen.
The call of this widespread but wary bird is a loud, ringing wic-wic-wic. Both sexes drum.
In most of its range, it is most likely confused with the Crimson-crested Woodpecker (Campephilus melanoleucos), which has a similar plumage and size. In the female of that species, the light face line is far broader, and the white shoulder lines meet on the back lower back (forming a "V"). The male Crimson-crested Woodpecker is quite different with its almost entirely red head.
D. l. scapularis (Vigors, 1829) – western Mexico (Sonora south to Guerrero). The white stripe on the sides of the face is reduced or lacking; also smaller than similis and nominate lineatus. Bill pale, pale horn, dull white, or bluish white.
D. l. lineatus (Linnaeus, 1766) – eastern and southern Costa Rica south to western Colombia and east to Trinidad, the Guianas and northeastern and eastern Brazil (Maranhão, Bahia), and south to eastern Peru, northern Paraguay and south central Brazil (São Paulo). Bill dark. Body mass is 186–228 g (6.6–8.0 oz).
D. l. erythrops (Valenciennes, 1826) – eastern Paraguay, northern and northeastern Argentina and southeastern Brazil. Bill dark. Larger than nominate. White scapular lines often reduced; generally the scapular lines are absent in southern populations, but the "proportion of individuals with scapular lines increases towards range of nominate lineatus" (Winkler et al., 1995). Body mass is 216–264 g (7.6–9.3 oz).
The habitat of this species is forest borders and other open woodland. It is not generally a mountain bird, though it has occasionally been recorded in the uplands (e.g., in the Serranía de las Quinchas of Colombia) Three white eggs are laid in a nest hole is in a dead tree and incubated by both sexes. The young are fed by regurgitation.
Lineated Woodpeckers chip out holes, often quite large, while searching out insects in trees. They mainly eat insects, especially ants, beetles and their larvae, with some seeds, such as from Heliconia, and fruits, berries, and nuts.
Lineated Woodpeckers breed March–April in Panama, April–May in Belize, and February–April in Trinidad and Suriname. Nest cavities are excavated in dead trees at variable heights, from 2–27 m above the ground. Both sexes excavate the nests, which are about 45 cm deep, 13 x 18 cm wide, and have an entrance about 9 cm in diameter. Clutch size ranges from 2–4 eggs (2–3 in Trinidad). Males and females take 2–3 hour shifts incubating during the day, but only males incubate at night. Chicks are fed about once an hour by both parents through regurgitation; the female does most of the feeding while the male guards the nest. Incubation and fledging periods not documented.
- BirdLife International (2012). "Dryocopus lineatus". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2012.1. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 16 July 2012.
- Cuervo, Andrés M.; Hernández-Jaramillo, Alejandro; Cortés-Herrera, José Oswaldo & Laverde, Oscar (2007): Nuevos registros de aves en la parte alta de la Serranía de las Quinchas, Magdalena medio, Colombia [New bird records from the highlands of Serranía de las Quinchas, middle Magdalena valley, Colombia]. Ornitología Colombiana 5: 94–98 [Spanish with English abstract]. PDF fulltext
- ffrench, Richard; O'Neill, John Patton & Eckelberry, Don R. (1991): A guide to the birds of Trinidad and Tobago (2nd edition). Comstock Publishing, Ithaca, N.Y. ISBN 0-8014-9792-2
- Hilty, Steven L. (2003): Birds of Venezuela. Christopher Helm, London. ISBN 0-7136-6418-5
- Lineated Woodpecker videos, photos & sounds on the Internet Bird Collection