- Lafresnaye's Piculet
 - Lafresnaye's Piculet
 - Lafresnaye's Piculet
 - Lafresnaye's Piculet

Lafresnaye's Piculet Picumnus lafresnayi Scientific name definitions

Hans Winkler and David Christie
Version: 1.0 — Published March 4, 2020
Text last updated October 10, 2013

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Editor's Note: This is a shorter format account, originally published in HBW Alive. Please consider contributing your expertise to update and expand this account.

Lafresnaye’s Piculets are yellowish green above and barred below. They inhabit densely forested humid regions where they favor second growth, forest borders, and clearings. These piculets forage for termites in the lower and middle strata and frequently join mixed-species flocks. Although usually quiet, Lafresnaye’s Piculets sometimes make high pitched tseeyt tsit vocalizations.


9–10 cm; 9–10 g. Male has dark olive-brown cap with red forecrown spots, whitish spots on rest of crown and nape; pale buff lores, whitish feather edges forming pale stripe behind eye, greyish-buff ear-coverts streaked or spotted brown; dark green or brownish-green upperparts barred yellowish-green; upperwing and its coverts greenish-brown with yellower edgings, primaries browner; uppertail blackish, central feather pair with broad white stripe on inner webs, outer 3 pairs with large area of white towards tip; buffish-white chin and throat with narrow black feather edges; rest of underparts pale yellowish-white with broad black bars, bars broadest on lower areas, occasionally broken in belly centre; underwing brownish with dark-barred yellowish-white coverts; bill short, culmen curved, black with grey base; iris brown to brown-grey, orbital skin greyish; legs grey. Differs from P. pumilus in larger size, barred and brighter upperparts, red forehead spots, paler ear-coverts. Female  has white forecrown spots. Juvenile duller, with greener upperparts, less evenly barred below. Races other than nominate differ in having yellow-orange forecrown spots, and less heavily barred upperparts: punctifrons has slightly larger bill, darker ear-coverts, narrower bars below; taczanowskii has blacker crown, and broader, more irregular dark barring below; pusillus  has upperparts  slightly rufous-tinged, narrow dark bars below, centre of belly more or less unbarred.

Systematics History

Editor's Note: This article requires further editing work to merge existing content into the appropriate Subspecies sections. Please bear with us while this update takes place.

Closely related to P. pumilus (which see) and has been thought conspecific; formerly considered conspecific with P. aurifrons, but may be closer to P. exilis. Four subspecies recognized.



Picumnus lafresnayi lafresnayi Scientific name definitions

SE Colombia, E Ecuador and N Peru (S to San Martín).


Picumnus lafresnayi punctifrons Scientific name definitions

N Peru (SE Amazonas).


Picumnus lafresnayi taczanowskii Scientific name definitions

NE and NC Peru (Huánuco to N Ayacucho).


Picumnus lafresnayi pusillus Scientific name definitions

NC Brazil on middle R Amazon E to R Negro.


Editor's Note: Additional distribution information for this taxon can be found in the 'Subspecies' article above. In the future we will develop a range-wide distribution article.


Inhabits heavily forested, very humid country, preferring secondary growth, forest edges and clearings. Occurs in lowlands and foothills up to 1400 m; occasionally found up to 1800 m in Ecuador.


Presumably resident.

Diet and Foraging

Termites; presumably also other small invertebrates. Forages in lower and middle strata. Gleaning is the only feeding technique recorded. Often accompanies mixed-species feeding flocks.

Sounds and Vocal Behavior

Largely silent, but occasional high-pitched “tseeyt, tsit” .


Few records available suggest nesting in Jul–Nov. One nest was in hole c. 3 m up in a shrub, and contained 2 eggs; both sexes care for the brood, and once an additional full-grown female observed to roost with the eggs; incubation and fledging periods undocumented.

Not globally threatened. Uncommon to fairly common in Ecuador; regularly recorded on Baeza-Tena and Loreto roads. Considered rare in Peru.
Distribution of the Lafresnaye's Piculet
  • Year-round
  • Migration
  • Breeding
  • Non-Breeding
Distribution of the Lafresnaye's Piculet

Recommended Citation

Winkler, H. and D. A. Christie (2020). Lafresnaye's Piculet (Picumnus lafresnayi), version 1.0. In Birds of the World (J. del Hoyo, A. Elliott, J. Sargatal, D. A. Christie, and E. de Juana, Editors). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. https://doi.org/10.2173/bow.lafpic1.01