Backyard Birds

Grey Woodpeckers

The Grey Woodpecker (Dendropicos goertae) is a widespread and frequently common resident breeder in much of equatorial Africa.

This species is associated with forests and bushes.

It is frequently seen, and regularly taps or drums.


The Grey Woodpecker has a straight pointed bill, a stiff tail to provide support against tree trunks, and zygodactyl or “yoked” feet, with two toes pointing forward, and two backward.

This bird is about 8 inches or 20cm long.

It is a typical woodpecker shape and has unmarked green upperparts and a pale grey head and underparts. The rump is red, and there is a small red belly patch. The short tail is blackish.

The adult male Grey Woodpecker has a red crown.

Females have a plain grey head, lacking the red crown.

Young birds are like the female, but the reds are paler, and there may be some flank barring.


Grey Woodpecker’s mainly eat insects. The long tongue dart quickly forward to capture insects


Grey Woodpeckers typically nest in tree holes – often in Oil Palms. The average clutch consists of 2 to 4 eggs.

Call / Song:

The call is a loud and fast peet-peet-peet-peet.

Member of the Picidae Family: WoodpeckersSapsuckersFlickers


Gordon Ramel

Gordon is an ecologist with two degrees from Exeter University. He's also a teacher, a poet and the owner of 1,152 books. Oh - and he wrote this website.

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