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Species Guide

Levaillant's Woodpecker

Picus vaillantii

Levaillant's woodpecker, or Levaillant's green woodpecker, is a distinguished member of the woodpecker family, Picidae. This large African bird is named in honor of the French explorer and ornithologist, François Le Vaillant.

Identification Tips

Adults of this species measure between 30 to 33 centimeters in length and boast a wingspan of 45 to 51 centimeters. They exhibit a dark green plumage on their upper parts and a yellowish-green hue below. A striking crimson nape sets them apart, while the black moustache stripe is edged with a paler border. The rump shines in chrome yellow, and the outer webs of the primaries display a pattern of black and white bars. Their bill and feet are a slate grey. Males can be identified by their crimson crown, whereas females have a grey crown. Both sexes lack the black around the lores and eyes, a feature common in other green woodpecker species.


Levaillant's woodpecker is native to the mountain forests of the Maghreb region, including Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia. It is accustomed to elevations reaching the treeline, around 2000 meters.


This woodpecker graces the northwest African landscape, specifically within the three countries of the Maghreb.


Levaillant's woodpecker is known for its adept foraging technique, using a rapid flick of its long tongue to capture insects, which stick to its saliva-coated tip. Despite its size, it exhibits an effortless, bounding flight. The nesting process involves a tree hole where 4 to 8 glossy white eggs are laid upon wood chips.

Song & Calls

The bird's vocalization is a resonant, laughing call, "plue, plue, plue," reminiscent of the green woodpecker's yaffle but perhaps delivered at a slightly quicker pace.


The breeding ritual includes the laying of 4 to 8 glossy white eggs in a tree cavity, cushioned by wood chips.

Conservation status

The IUCN Red List categorizes Levaillant's woodpecker as Least Concern, indicating a stable population without immediate threats to its survival.

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Levaillant's Woodpeckers on Birda

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Profile picture for Harshith Karthik Parthiban
Harshith Karthik Parthiban
28 May 2024 - 6:53am

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