Abyssinian woodpecker

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Abyssinian woodpecker
Abyssinian Woodpecker.jpg
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Piciformes
Family: Picidae
Genus: Dendropicos
Species: D. abyssinicus
Binomial name
Dendropicos abyssinicus
(Stanley, 1814)[2]

Picus Abyssinicus Stanley, 1814

The Abyssinian woodpecker (Dendropicos abyssinicus), also known as the golden-backed woodpecker or the golden-mantled woodpecker, is a species of bird in the woodpecker family, Picidae. It is native to Africa, where it occurs in Eritrea and Ethiopia.[1] It appears to be a close relative of the cardinal woodpecker Dendropicos fuscescens.[3]


The Abyssinian woodpecker is a very small woodpecker with a relatively long and broad bill. It has a golden yellow back and mantle with a bright red rump and barred wings and barred tail, the underparts are pale and heavily streaked with black. The head is striped and the male is distinguished by having a red nape and crown. The brown stripe through the eye and the golden mantle separate this species from the related Cardinal Woodpecker.[4] It measured 16 cm in length and weighs 23–26g.[3]

Distribution and habitat[edit]

The Abyssinian woodpecker is endemic to the Ethiopian Highlands from central Eritrea east to Harar in Ethiopia to the River Alata, a tributary of the Hanger River.[3]

This species occurs in juniper woods and Hagenia forest, also in areas of Euphorbia, particularly between 1600m and 3000m and occasionally higher. It has also been found in wooded savanna at lower altitudes.[4]


The biology and ecology of the Abyssinian woodpecker is almost unknown. It is an unobtrusive bird which probes for food among moss growing on trees. It is thought that the nesting period probably runs between December and May.[4]

Conservation status[edit]

The Abyssinian woodpecker has a very large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable and is currently classed as Least Concern but it is thought to be decreasing in population and contracting its range due to continuing clearance of woodlands.[1]


  1. ^ a b c BirdLife International (2012). "Dendropicos abyssinicus". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 26 November 2013. 
  2. ^ "Dendropicos abyssinicus (Stanley, 1814)". Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS) (http://www.itis.gov). Archived from the original on 2016-11-07. Retrieved 2016-11-06. 
  3. ^ a b c "Abyssinian Woodpecker (Dendropicos abyssinicus)". Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions. Archived from the original on 2016-09-13. Retrieved 2016-11-06. 
  4. ^ a b c Winkler, Hans; Christie, David A.; Nurney, David (1995). Woodpeckers A Guide to the Woodpeckers, Piculets and Wrynecks of the World. Pica Press. p. 240. ISBN 1-873403-25-9.