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Bennett's Woodpecker - BirdForum Opus

Male, subspecies bennettii
Photo © by Alan Manson
Kruger National Park, South Africa, September 2007
Campethera bennettii


24 cm (9½ in)

  • Full red crown
  • Red moustachial, contrasting with plain face and throat


  • Diagnostic brown throat and cheek stripe


Female subspecies bennettii
Photo © by safariranger
Kruger National Park, South Africa, October 2006

Western Africa: found in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Angola
Eastern Africa: Rwanda, Burundi, Tanzania, Zambia, Mozambique, Malawi
Southern Africa: Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, South Africa, KwaZulu-Natal, Swaziland


Closely related to Speckle-throated Woodpecker, Nubian Woodpecker, and Fine-spotted Woodpecker.


Male, subspecies capricorni
Photo © by charelli
Okavango, Botswana, May 2018

Two subspecies[1]:

  • C. b. bennettii, the eastern race, has creamy white to pale buff underparts with dark brown spots
  • C. b. capricorni has yellow underparts that are only weakly and finely spotted (appearing unmarked in the field).


Mature woodland and savanna with tall trees.


Usually in pairs or small family groups.


Feeds mainly on the ground mostly on ants, ant eggs and ant pupae. Also eats other insects. Sometimes joins mixed-species feeding flocks.


Female, subspecies capricorni
Photo © by charelli
Okavango, Botswana, May 2018

Monogamous and territorial. Nests in holes in trees, often using those excavated by other Woodpeckers. Two to six eggs are laid August-February.


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2017. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2017, with updates to August 2017. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Hockey, PAR, WRJ Dean, and PG Ryan, eds. 2005. Roberts' Birds of Southern Africa. 7th ed. Cape Town: John Voelcker Bird Book Fund. ISBN 978-0620340533
  3. Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive (retrieved June 2018)

Recommended Citation

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