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Golden-tailed Woodpecker.jpg
A male golden-tailed woodpecker (C. abingoni) in northern Namibia
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Piciformes
Family: Picidae
Tribe: Malarpicini
Genus: Campethera
G.R. Gray, 1841

see text

Campethera is a genus of bird in the family Picidae, or woodpeckers, that are native to sub-Saharan Africa. Most species are native to woodland and savanna rather than deep forest, and multiple species exhibit either arboreal or terrestrial foraging strategies.[1] Its nearest relative is the monotypic genus Geocolaptes[1] of southern Africa, which employs terrestrial foraging and breeding strategies. They are however not close relatives of similar-looking woodpeckers in the "Dendropicos clade".


They are small to medium-sized woodpeckers.[2] The sexes are fairly similar, but males of most species have the crown and nape bright red, while in females this is restricted to the nape. Colour of the malar plumage is also useful in sexing.

Their plumage pattern is fairly uniform, and some species are only distinguishable by careful observation.[2] The mantle, back and wings are olive-greenish, and usually spotted or barred in buffy to golden yellow. The shafts of the remiges and rectrices are yellow to golden yellow.[2] The underpart plumage is spotted black to a lesser or greater degree.

Some species include drumming on dead wood as a means of non-vocal signaling. Most species are poor drummers however, and some species may not drum at all.[2]


Their rectrices are only partially stiffened (for arboreal support), and they readily take to terrestrial foraging. Ants and termites form important components of their diet. These are lapped up with a flexible and sticky tongue.[2]


Species diversity in the "Campethera clade" is believed to be understated, and up to 18 species may be involved.[1] The following species are currently recognized:



  1. ^ a b c Fuchs, Jérôme; Pons, Jean-Marc; Bowie, Rauri C.K. (March 2017). "Biogeography and diversification dynamics of the African woodpeckers". Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 108: 88–100. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2017.01.007. 
  2. ^ a b c d e Gorman, Gerard (2014). Woodpeckers of the World: The Complete Guide (Helm Photographic Guides). London: Bloomsbury. p. 165. ISBN 1408147157.