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Little Grey Woodpecker - BirdForum Opus

Alternative name: Sahelian Woodpecker

Dendropicos elachus


12-14 cm (4¾-5½ in).

  • Pale grey-brown forehead to mid-crown
  • Dull red hindcrown and nape
  • White supercilium
  • Pale brown-grey lores, ear-coverts and sides of neck
  • Thin dark brown malar stripe
  • White chin and throat (faintly streaked in fresh plumage)
  • Greyish-brown upperparts barred white
  • Red rump and uppertail-coverts
  • Brown wing-coverts barred off-white and with white tips
  • Brown flight-feathers with white bars
  • Brown uppertail with off-white bars
  • Whitish underparts, breast spotted or faintly barred brown

All plumage colours fade very quickly and birds give a very pale impression when worn.
Females similar to males but entire crown and nape with more brown. Juveniles are duller.


Found in the sahel belt in southwest Mauritania, Senegambia and in a narrow belt from central Mali east to Chad and west-central Sudan and south to northeast Nigeria and extreme northern Cameroon. Records from areas between Senegambia and central Mali require confirmation.
A rare and not well known species. Occurs in low densities in its range. No recent records from Gambia.


This is a monotypic species.


Found in wooded steppe and semi-deserts. Also in dry streambeds and wadis with some trees at the edge of the desert.
Occurs in the lowlands, up to 1600 m in Niger.



Not well known. The diet includes insect larvae. Forages in trees by hammering and pecking.


Breeding season from January to February in Senegal and Mali, March to May in Niger, breeding recorded in October in Chad. The nest is placed in a dead branch of acacia. No other information.


This is a resident species.


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2016. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2016, with updates to August 2016. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive (retrieved November 2016)

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