Chestnut woodpecker

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Chestnut woodpecker
Celeus elegans Chestnut Woodpecker.jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Piciformes
Family: Picidae
Genus: Celeus
Species: C. elegans
Binomial name
Celeus elegans
Muller, 1776
  • Celeus elegans elegans (Statius Muller, 1776), the Russet-crested Woodpecker
  • Celeus elegans citreopygius P. L. Sclater & Salvin, 1867
  • Celeus elegans deltanus W. H. Phelps & W. H. Phelps Jr, 1950
  • Celeus elegans hellmayri Berlepsch, 1908
  • Celeus elegans jumanus (Spix, 1824)
  • Celeus elegans leotaudi Hellmayr, 1906

The chestnut woodpecker (Celeus elegans) is a resident breeding bird in South America from Colombia, Venezuela and the Guianas south to Ecuador, Bolivia and northern Brazil, and on Trinidad.

The habitat of this large woodpecker is forest and other closed woodland. The nest hole is in a dead tree, with the chamber floor up to 30 cm below the entrance. Three white eggs are laid.

The chestnut woodpecker is 28 cm long and weighs 127g. It is a rich unbarred chestnut brown with a yellow rump and flanks and a yellowish crest. The wings and tail are black and the bill yellow-white. The male has a red malar stripe, but otherwise the sexes are similar.

C. e. leotaudi of Trinidad is smaller, paler, and much brighter than the mainland forms. Other subspecies have differing crest colours.

The chestnut woodpecker mainly feeds in trees and bushes on insects, including termites, and some fruit, and will come to table scraps. It is a noisy species with a harsh parrot-like squawk whEEjer. Both sexes drum.


  • ffrench, Richard (1991). A Guide to the Birds of Trinidad and Tobago (2nd ed.). Comstock Publishing. ISBN 0-8014-9792-2. 
  • Hilty, Steven L (2003). Birds of Venezuela. London: Christopher Helm. ISBN 0-7136-6418-5. 

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