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Version 1.0

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Lineated Woodpecker Dryocopus lineatus

I. S. Malekan
Version: 1.0 — Published February 4, 2011


Distinguishing Characteristics

Lineated Woodpecker is a large woodpecker with a red crest and white stripes that run across its face and down the sides of the neck. It can be distinguished from similar-looking woodpeckers by its streaked chin.

Similar Species

Lineated Woodpecker overlaps geographically with several other large black-and-white woodpeckers in the genus Campephilus. The Lineated is most similar to Crimson-crested Woodpecker (Campephilus melanoleucos), with which there is geographic overlap from Panama south to Paraguay. The male Crimson-crested Woodpecker has almost entirely red head, with only a white spot on the side of the head. The female Crimson-crested is more similar to Lineated, but has a much broader white stripe across the sides of the face The latter can be distinguished through a broader white band across its face, and the white stripes on the upperparts converge on the lower back. Both sexes of Crimson-crested Woodpecker also have a completely black throat; Lineated has a white throat, with narrow black streaks.

In southwestern Colombia, western Ecuador, and northwestern Peru, Lineated Woodpecker also overlaps with Guayaquil Woodpecker (Campephilus gayaquilensis), from which it differs in same ways as which it does from Crimson-crested.

Detailed Description

The following description is of nominate lineatus, based on Wetmore (1968); see also Ridgway (1914). Sexually dimorphic.

Adult male: Crown and nape, including pointed crest on rear crown, bright red. Hindneck, back, wings and rectrices black; broad white stripe along scapulars. Side of head (including area surrounding eye) slate gray, except for a narrow, orange-buff line that extends from the nostril back across the lores, becoming whiter, and extending down the sides of the neck, where it becomes broader, terminating midway down the side of the breast. Malars dark red. Chin and upper throat streaked white and black; the intensity of the streaking varies individually, such that the throat of some birds appears to be mostly black, and mostly white on other individuals. Lower neck and upper breast black to sooty black. Lower breast, flanks, belly and undertail coverts brownish buff to dull white, irregularly barred and spotted sooty black. Underwing coverts, edge of wing, and the bases of the remiges white or buff.

Adult female: Similar to adult male, but the forecrown and the malars are black.

Immature: Similar to adult, but colors duller.


An annual molt takes place after the breeding season from December-February in Argentina and southern Brazil, November-February in Mato Grosso, Brazil, March-April in northern Bolivia, November-July in eastern Peru, November-January in western Ecuador (fuscipennis), October-April in the Amazon, June-October in Venezuela, April -May in Colombia, January-March or later in Panama, and June-September in Costa Rica and Guatemala (Short 1982).

Bare Parts

Iris: white to pale yellowish orange; brown in juveniles. Orbital skin brown.

Bill: maxilla black, mandible white to gray usually with dark tip.

Tarsi and toes: gray with greenish, yellowish or bluish cast.

Data from Graber (1954), Short 1982).


Total length: 31.5-34 cm (Howell and Webb 1995), 33 cm (Stiles and Skutch 1989), 33-35.5 cm (Ridgely and Greenfield 2001), 36 cm (Hilty and Brown 1986).

Measurements (mm) of Dryocopus lineatus lineatus, in Panama (Wetmore 1968)
wing tail culmen from base tarsus n

mean 180.3

range 175.0-186.0

mean 111.5

range 105.0-117.1

mean 39.5

range 37.7-41.8

mean 30.5

range 29.4-31.9


mean 177.8

range 173-187

mean 108.9

range 105.8-114.7

mean 36.9

range 33.9-39.0

mean 30.1

range 28.8-31.3


Mass: varies geographically: similis 136-181 g; lineatus 186-228 g; fuscipennis 164-190 g; erythrops 216-264 g (Short 1982).

Recommended Citation

Malekan, I. S. (2011). Lineated Woodpecker (Dryocopus lineatus), version 1.0. In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. https://doi.org/10.2173/nb.linwoo1.01