Brown-backed woodpecker

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Brown-backed woodpecker
Brown-backed Woodpecker - Gambia (31838114303).jpg
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Piciformes
Family: Picidae
Genus: Dendropicos
Species: D. obsoletus
Binomial name
Dendropicos obsoletus
(Wagler, 1829)
  • Picoides obsoletus
  • Chloropicus obsoletus

The brown-backed woodpecker (Dendropicos obsoletus) is a species of bird in the family Picidae. It has a wide distribution in tropical Africa where its range extends from Senegal in the west to Ethiopia, Kenya and Tanzania in the east. This species is described as generally uncommon, but it has a very large range and the population appears to be steady, so the International Union for Conservation of Nature has rated its conservation status as being of "least concern".[1]


The brown-backed woodpecker is a small species, growing to a length of between 13 and 16 cm (5.1 and 6.3 in). The beak is long and chisel-tipped with a wide base. The male has a red hind crown and nape while the female lacks these. Otherwise the sexes are similar, the head is brown with a white supercilium and moustache and dark ear coverts. The body plumage is brown with white barring on the wings and tail and the underparts are whitish, with variable amounts of dark streaking. When the feathers are worn, this bird looks rather pale and can be confused with the little grey woodpecker (Dendropicos elachus).[2]

Distribution and habitat[edit]

It is native to Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Tanzania, Togo, and Uganda.[1] It inhabits open, dry areas, scrubland, the edges of woodland, especially Combretum woodland and Hagenia forest, savannah with scattered trees and suburban gardens. Its altitudinal range is from sea level to about 2,300 m (7,500 ft), and even higher on Mount Kenya.[2]


  1. ^ a b c BirdLife International (2012). "Dendropicos obsoletus". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 26 November 2013.
  2. ^ a b Hans Winkler; David A. Christie (2010). Woodpeckers. Bloomsbury Publishing. p. 86. ISBN 978-1-4081-3504-4.