A photo of a Grey-headed Woodpecker (Picus canus), male
Grey-headed Woodpecker, Male

Grey-headed Woodpecker

Picus canus

The grey-headed woodpecker (Picus canus), also known as the grey-faced woodpecker, is a Eurasian member of the woodpecker family, Picidae. Along with the more commonly found European green woodpecker and the Iberian green woodpecker, it is one of three closely related sister species found in Europe. Its distribution stretches across large parts of the central and Eastern Palaearctic, all the way to the Pacific Ocean. The grey-headed woodpecker is 25–26 cm in length. The male of the nominate subspecies has a grey head with a red forecrown. There is a black line across the lores and a narrow black moustache stripe. The back, scapulars and wing coverts are green. The breast and underbody are pale grey. The folded primaries are barred brown-black on grey-white. The female lacks the red forecrown but has fine black streaks on the crown.[13] The widely distributed Picus canus jessoensis is very similar to the nominate subspecies but is slightly greyer and less green. The Chinese subspecies Picus canus guerini has a black nape patch and a greenish underbody. The subspecies Picus canus hessei is similar to guerini but is more golden green above and a deeper green below. The race on the island of Sumatra, Picus canus dedemi, differs markedly from the other subspecies in having reddish rather than green above, and red, green and grey below. It has a black crown and nape. Specimens of the more widespread of the two Eastern subspecies, P. c. jessoensis, are usually a little larger and heavier than individuals from the type locality. On average, it is somewhat smaller and lighter than the European green woodpecker. In the field, this distinction in size is difficult to make. Its size is approximately that of a Eurasian collared dove. Grey-headed woodpeckers have uniformly olive green upperparts, transitioning across the neck to a light grey, the head being that latter colour. The typical woodpecker markings are small and not particularly conspicuous. It has a grey head with black moustache, and the male has a red crown. It has a shorter neck, slimmer bill and slightly rounder head than the green woodpecker.
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Grey-headed Woodpeckers on Birda


A map showing the sighting location
Alexander Kuznetsov
Tuesday 10 Jan 2023 - 2:24am
A map showing the sighting location
Jakob Demmer
Saturday 26 Nov 2022 - 3:00pm
A map showing the sighting location
Jiwateshwar Singh
Sunday 09 Oct 2022 - 8:39am
A map showing the sighting location
Mathieu S.
Tuesday 09 Aug 2022 - 8:40am
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