Zimmer & Phelps, 1950
The black-dotted piculet (Picumnus nigropunctatus), also known as the black-spotted piculet, is a Venezuelan endemic species of bird in the Picidae, or woodpecker family. Its taxonomic status is controversial.
Distribution and habitat
This species is locally common in areas with bushes or trees (possibly including mangroves), near water or waterlogged, in the Venezuelan coastal lowlands (below 100m) from southern Delta Amacuro to southeastern Sucre.
The black-dotted piculet resembles other members of the genus Picumnus. Its most distinctive mark is pale pure yellow underparts with sparse black dots on the lower breast and usually on the belly and undertail coverts. In southeastern Sucre, a few have finely barred chests. Rare individuals with scaly throats and pale buffy (rather than yellow) underparts resemble the scaled piculet, which can be distinguished by its scaly lower underparts.
The crown is black with narrow scarlet streaks on the forepart and conspicuous white dots on the rear part, or throughout in some females. The upperparts are light olive-brown, slightly yellowish, with dusky spots on the shoulders and back.
The song is "2 to several extremely high, thin notes, each slightly lower than the preceding, tseeet, tseeet, tsee, etc." Possibly it is also used as a contact call. Foraging birds may repeat the song a few times and then fall silent for several minutes.
Birds of this species forage in pairs, often widely separated, or alone. They occasionally join mixed-species flocks. They often "hitch sideways along branches," and they peck or drill like woodpeckers in rotting wood and at broken ends of branches.
The taxonomy of Picumnus is controversial, and this taxon has been considered conspecific with the white-bellied piculet, conspecific with the golden-spangled piculet, and a synonym (incorrect name) of a subspecies of the scaled piculet (P. squamulatus obsoletus). Here it is considered a separate species following the Handbook of the Birds of the World, which supports this view with a summary of unpublished data from M. Lentino.
- Hilty, Steven L. (2003), Birds of Venezuela, Princeton University Press, pp. 464–465, ISBN 0-691-09250-8
- Peterson, Alan P. (Editor). 1999. Zoological Nomenclature Resource (Zoonomen). Accessed 2007-10-7.
- Winkler, Hans; Christie, David A. (2002), "Family Picidae", in del Hoyo, J.; Elliott, A.; Sargatal, J., Handbook of the Birds of the World, Volume 7: Jacamars to Woodpeckers, Barcelona: Lynx Edicions, pp. 280–555, ISBN 84-87334-37-7
- Videos of Picumnus nigropunctatus from the Internet Bird Collection