- Dendropicos fuscescens
14–16 cm (5½-6¼ in)
- White underparts, streaked black
- Tawny rump
- Dull olive back with white spots
- White throat and face
- Black malar stripe
- Brown forecrown.
Male - red hind crown and nape
Female - dark hindcrown, black nape
Juvenile - red hindcrown and black nape
Western Africa: Mauritania, Senegambia, Senegal, The Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Guinea, Mali, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Togo, Benin, Nigeria, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, DRC and Angola
Eastern Africa: South Sudan, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Djibouti, Somalia, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Tanzania, Zambia, Mozambique and Malawi
Southern Africa: Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, South Africa, KwaZulu-Natal, Lesotho and Swaziland
Dendropicos fuscescens has nine subspecies:
- D. f. fuscescens: North-central Namibia through South Africa to southern Transvaal and western Natal
- D. f. natalensis: Natal and Transvaal to Mozambique (lower Zambesi River)
- D. f. centralis: Eastern Angola to northern Namibia, southern Zaire, western Tanzania and Zambia
- D. f. hartlaubii: Coastal southern Kenya to Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia and Mozambique
- D. f. lafresnayi: Senegambia and Sierra Leone to Nigeria
- D. f. sharpii: Cameroon and Central African Republic to western Democratic Republic of the Congo and northern Angola
- D. f. lepidus: South Sudan and eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo to highlands of Ethiopia, Uganda, Kenya, and northwestern Tanzania
- D. f.massaicus: Southern Ethiopia, inland and western Kenya and north-central Tanzania
- D. f. hemprichii: Lower elevations of the Horn of Africa: Eritrea, Ethiopia, and Somalia to northern and eastern Kenya
An additional subspecies xylobates is generally considered invalid.
Diverse found in savannah, broadleafed woodland, thick forests, dry thornveld and gardens.
Their diet consists of insects and their larvae, particularly beetles. Also grasshoppers, caterpillars and termites with the addition of some fruit.
Call - high-pitched krrrek-krrrek-krrrek.
- Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, S. M. Billerman, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2019. The eBird/Clements Checklist of Birds of the World: v2019. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
- 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
- Winkler, H. & Christie, D.A. (2020). Cardinal Woodpecker (Dendropicos fuscescens). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from https://www.hbw.com/node/56197 on 3 March 2020)
- BirdForum Opus contributors. (2021) Cardinal Woodpecker. In: BirdForum, the forum for wild birds and birding. Retrieved 16 October 2021 from https://www.birdforum.net/opus/Cardinal_Woodpecker