My Woodpeckers of Thailand

Updated: May 31, 2020

A brief overview of the woodpeckers of Thailand and pictures of those I have photographed...

Eurasian Wryneck

The Eurasian Wryneck (Jynx torquilla) is a species of wryneck in the woodpecker family. This species mainly breeds in temperate regions of Europe and Asia. Most populations are migratory, wintering in tropical Africa and in southern Asia It is a bird of open countryside, woodland and orchards. Eurasian wrynecks measure about 16.5 cm (6.5 in) in length and have bills shorter and less dagger-like than those of other woodpeckers. Their upper parts are barred and mottled in shades of pale brown with rufous and blackish bars and wider black streaks. Their underparts are cream speckled and spotted with brown. These birds get their English name from their ability to turn their heads through almost 180 degrees. When disturbed at the nest, they use this snake-like head twisting and hissing as a threat display. This odd behaviour led to their use in witchcraft, hence to put a "jinx" on someone. A good place to find these birds is Pak Phli, Nakon Nayok province. My picture here was taken at Pak Phli.

The IUCN lists the Eurasian Wryneck as being of "Least Concern"

Eurasian Wryneck (Jynx torquilla)
Eurasian Wryneck (Jynx torquilla)

Speckled Piculet

The Speckled Piculet (Picumnus innominatus) is a species of bird in the family Picidae. The male and female birds look alike. They have olive-green backs, with two white stripes on the side of their heads. The male bird has orange and brown on the forecrown. They have a creamy-white coloring below, with black spots. There is a dark green band near the eyes. It is found in the Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia. Its natural habitats are boreal forests, subtropical or tropical moist lowland forest, and subtropical or tropical moist montane forest. It is found up to an altitude of about 2500m. It can also be found in bamboo jungles. They usually move about in pairs, on thin branches, and sometimes hang from the branch, upside-down. Their behavior is quite similar to that of woodpeckers. A good place to find these birds is Mae Wong National Park. My picture here was taken at Mae Wong NP.

The IUCN lists the Speckled Piculet as being of "Least Concern"

Speckled Piculet (Picumnus innominatus)
Speckled Piculet (Picumnus innominatus)

Rufous Piculet

The Rufous Piculet (Sasia abnormis) is a species of bird in the family Picidae. The upper parts are generally green tinted with bronze, and the underparts rufous, orange or cinnamon, with paler flanks. The mantle and back are olive, the wings are brownish above, and the underwings are buff. The sexes are different; the male has a yellow or golden patch on the forehead whereas the female has a bronze patch. The rufous piculet is native to tropical southeastern Asia. It’s typical habitat is dense humid secondary forests with tangled undergrowth, bamboo and rotting trees. It gleans scrupulously, probing into holes and pulling out insects with its long tongue. It sometimes works its way up a trunk in a crosswise fashion, making little flights so as to turn to face the other way. Their diet consists of ants, termites, small beetles, spiders and other small invertebrates. . A good place to find these birds is Sri Phang Nga National Park.

The IUCN lists the Rufous Piculet as being of "Least Concern"


White-browed Piculet

The White-browed Piculet (Sasia ochracea) is a species of bird in the family Picidae. Its natural habitats are temperate forests and subtropical or tropical moist montane forests at altitudes of up to 2,600 m. This small piculet has olive-green upper parts tinged with chestnut and grows to a length of up to 10 cm. The under parts are cinnamon or rufous, sometimes yellowish on the flanks. The stubby tail is blackish. The crown is green, and there is a white streak above and immediately behind the eye. Males have a small golden-yellow patch on the forehead which females lack. It forages in the understory layer not far above the ground, pecking and probing with its sharp beak. Its diet consists of small insects, ants, termites, spiders and other small invertebrates. Breeding takes place between March and July. A good place to find these birds is Kaeng Krachan National Park. My picture here was taken at Thai Phrachan NP.

The IUCN lists the White-browed Piculet as being of "Least Concern"

White-browed Piculet (Sasia ochracea)
White-browed Piculet (Sasia ochracea)

Grey-and-buff Woodpecker

The grey-and-buff woodpecker (Hemicircus sordidus) is a species of bird in the family Picidae. It is found in southern Thailand. Its natural habitats are lowland and montane tropical or subtropical moist broadleaf forests. The species has a plump body and short rounded tail, and grows to a length of about 13.5 cm (5.3 in). The head appears large because of the slender neck and the large, cone-shaped crest. The head is largely grey, with a fine white, wavy line running from the cheek to the mantle. In males the forehead is red and the crest grey, while in females, both are grey. Body upper parts and wings are blackish. Underparts are grey, the tail and underwing dark.The grey-and-buff woodpecker is usually seen singly or in pairs, but sometimes occurs in mixed species flocks foraging in the canopy. It mainly feeds by gleaning rather than by drilling into the wood, the diet consisting of insects and fruit. The breeding season is between December and July. This bird can be found at Hala-Bala Wildlife Sanctuary, Narathiwat.

The IUCN lists the grey-and-buff woodpecker as being of "Least Concern"



Heart-spotted Woodpecker

The Heart-spotted Woodpecker (Hemicircus canente) is a species of bird in the woodpecker family. They have a contrasting black and white pattern, a distinctively stubby body (15 – 17cm) with a large wedge-shaped head making them easy to identify while their frequent calling make them easy to detect as they forage for invertebrates under the bark of trees. They move about in pairs or small groups and are often found in mixed-species foraging flocks. A good place to find these birds is Kaeng Krachan and Nam Nao National Park. My picture here was taken at Nam Nao NP.

The IUCN lists the Heart-spotted woodpecker as being of "Least Concern"

Heart-spotted Woodpecker (Hemicircus canente)
Heart-spotted Woodpecker (Hemicircus canente)

Sunda Pygmy Woodpecker

The Sunda-pygmy Woodpecker (Yungipicus moluccensis), also known as the Sunda woodpecker, is a species of bird in the family Picidae. It can be found accidental in the south of Thailand. It is a small sized woodpecker (Size range: 11.5-12.5 cm). Greyish brown capped head; ear covers dark brown with two rather broad whitish grey bands narrowing towards neck. Upper parts greyish brown. Tail short and dark with white bands. Lores and throat white leading into dirty white underparts. Males have a reddish orange crown which is absent in females. Its natural habitats are subtropical or tropical moist lowland forest, subtropical or tropical mangrove forest. I have only once ever seen this bird at the Satun Mangroves. My picture here was taken at Satun Mangroves..

The IUCN lists the Sunda pygmy Woodpecker as being of "Least Concern"

Sunda-pygmy Woodpecker (Yungipicus moluccensis)
Sunda-pygmy Woodpecker (Yungipicus moluccensis)

Grey-capped Pygmy Woodpecker

The Grey-capped pygmy Woodpecker (Yungipicus canicapillus) is a bird species of the Picidae family. This is a small, dark woodpecker (13 – 15cm). It has unbarred central tail feathers and its dark buff underside has prominent dark streaking. The dark grey crown (with a red nape in males), strong black eyestripes, and thin dark malar stripes contrast with broad white supercilia and cheeks. Its natural habitats are subtropical or tropical moist lowland forest, subtropical or tropical mangrove forest, and subtropical or tropical moist montane forest. It occurs across most of Thailand, but good places to find these birds are Huay Kha Kaeng WS and Mae Ping NP.

The IUCN lists the Grey-capped pygmy Woodpecker as being of "Least Concern" My picture here was taken at Ao Phang Nga

Grey-capped pygmy Woodpecker (Yungipicus canicapillus)

Yellow-crowned Woodpecker

The Yellow-crowned Woodpecker (Leiopicus mahrattensis) is a medium-small (17 - 19 cm), pale-headed, pied woodpecker. Upperparts black, heavily spotted and barred white. Underparts dark, streaked dingy white with red belly patch. Irregular brown cheek and neck patches. Female has yellowish crown and nape. In male nape scarlet and fore-crown yellow. The Yellow-crowned woodpecker is listed as (possibly) extinct in Thailand. A very informative article on this bird written by Phillip Round can be read here.. Please open in new tab. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/303718725/download

The IUCN lists the Yellow-crowned Woodpecker as being of "Least Concern"


Rufous-bellied Woodpecker

The Rufous-bellied Woodpecker (Dendrocopos hyperythrus) is a species of bird in the family Picidae. It ranges in length from about 19 to 23 cm. The male has a red crown while the female has a black crown, speckled with white. Both sexes have a black mantle and back, while the wings are black barred with white. The upper tail is black, with some white barring on the outer two pairs of feathers. The face is white and the throat and underparts are a uniform cinnamon or rufous. The lower belly is black barred with white and the under-tail converts are red or pink. Thailand range is limited to mainly the north western extremes, with Mae Ping National Park being probably the best place to find this difficult to see woodpecker.

The IUCN lists the Rufous-bellied Woodpecker as being of "Least Concern"


Freckle-breasted Woodpecker