• Welcome to BirdForum, the internet's largest birding community with thousands of members from all over the world. The forums are dedicated to wild birds, birding, binoculars and equipment and all that goes with it.

    Please register for an account to take part in the discussions in the forum, post your pictures in the gallery and more.
ZEISS DTI thermal imaging cameras. For more discoveries at night, and during the day.

Golden-olive Woodpecker - BirdForum Opus

Revision as of 14:21, 5 October 2023 by Sbarnhardt (talk | contribs) (Added male ssp alleni image by njlarsen to Behavior section)
(diff) ← Older revision | Latest revision (diff) | Newer revision → (diff)
Male, subspecies yucatanensis
Photo © by gritstone
Rancho Naturalista, Costa Rica, February 2007

Colaptes rubiginosus

Piculus rubiginosus
Includes Bronze-winged Woodpecker (or Bronzed Woodpecker)


Female, subspecies tobagensi
Photo © by petersheikhli
Tobago, January 2007

18–23 cm (7-9 in)

  • Olive upperparts
  • Olive barred underparts
  • Face mostly whitish, male has red moustachial strip
  • Crown slaty on top, with red on rear


Subtropical Mexico to northwest Brazil.

Bronze-winged Woodpecker, C.r. aeruginosus, formerly a full species, is the most northerly subspecies (northeast Mexico), and most accessible to birders coming from the USA (Texas).


It was formely placed in the genus Piculus.

There is data that indicates that this species will be split in the future, but which subspecies goes where is still unclear.


Subspecies aeruginosus, Bronze-winged Woodpecker
Photo © by Greg Lavaty
El Cielo Biosphere Reserve, Tamaulipas, Mexico, November 2009

19 subspecies are recognized[1].

Subspecies aeruginosus, Bronze-winged Woodpecker
Photo © by Raul Padilla
San Bartolo Tutotepec, Mexico, May 2010
  • C. r. aeruginosus (Bronze-winged): Eastern Mexico (Tamaulipas to Veracruz)
  • C. r. yucatanensis: Southern Mexico (Oaxaca) to western Panama
  • C. r. alleni: Santa Marta Mountains (north-eastern Colombia)
  • C. r. buenavistae: Andean slopes of eastern Colombia and eastern Ecuador
  • C. r. tobagensis: Tobago
  • C. r. trinitatis: Trinidad
  • C. r. meridensis: North-western Venezuela
  • C. r. deltanus: North-eastern Venezuela (Delta Amacuro)
  • C. r. guianae: Eastern Venezuela and adjacent Guyana
  • C. r. paraquensis: Mountains of south-central Venezuela
  • C. r. rubiginosus: Mountains of north-central and north-eastern Venezuela
  • C. r. viridissimus: Tepuis of southern Venezuela (high plateau of Auyán-tepui)
  • C. r. nigriceps: Acari Mountains (southern Guyana and adjacent southern Suriname)
  • C. r. gularis: Colombia (Central and Western Andes)
  • C. r. coloratus: Extreme south-eastern Ecuador and north-central Peru
  • C. r. chrysogaster: Central Peru
  • C. r. canipileus: Central and south-eastern Bolivia
  • C. r. tucumanus: Southern Bolivia to north-western Argentina (south to Tucumán)
  • C. r. rubripileus: Extreme south-western Colombia to western Ecuador and north-western Peru
Female, subspecies rubripileus
Photo © by Stanley Jones
Chaparrí Lodge, Lambayeque Department, Peru, November 2013

The first of these subspecies is treated as a full species by some authorities under the name of Bronze-winged Woodpecker (Piculus aeruginosus), while the rest then would keep the name of Golden-olive Woodpecker. Opus has not followed as the majority of world wide checklists still treat these as conspecific.


Finca at 1700 meters on the east slope of the West Andes. Canopy and edges of rain forest, next to semi-open areas, shady gardens.


Male, Subspecies alleni
Photo © by NJ Larsen
Above Minca, Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, Colombia, 19 August 2023


Lays 2 to 4 eggs in a cavity high in a tree. Both adults are responsible for the care of the young, which fledge after about 24 days.


Subspecies trinitatis
Photo © by rka
Gran Couva, Trinidad, February 2017

Usually feeds high in the canopy feeding on insects and larvae. Occasionally found feeding on low stumps at forest edges.


  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. SACC proposal to transfer this species to genus Colaptes
  3. BF Member observations
  4. Whatbird

Recommended Citation

External Links

GSearch checked for 2020 platform.