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Scientific classification

The piculets are a distinctive group of small woodpeckers which occur mainly in tropical South America, with just three Asian and one African species elsewhere.

Like the true woodpeckers, piculets have large heads, long tongues which they use to extract their insect prey and zygodactyl feet, with two toes pointing forward, and two backwards. However, but they lack the stiff tail feathers that the true woodpeckers use when climbing trees, so they are more likely than their relatives to perch on a branch rather than an upright trunk.

Their bills are shorter and less dagger like than the true woodpeckers, so they look for insects and grubs mainly in decaying wood. Similarly, they re-use woodpecker holes for nesting, rather than making their own holes. The eggs are white, as with many hole nesters.

Typically these birds have grey or dull green upperparts and dark-streaked white underparts.

Species list

  • Orinoco Piculet, Picumnus pumilus
  • Speckled Piculet, Picumnus innominatus
  • Bar-breasted Piculet, Picumnus aurifrons
  • Lafresnaye's Piculet, Picumnus lafresnayi
  • Golden-spangled Piculet, Picumnus exilis
  • Ecuadorian Piculet, Picumnus sclateri
  • Scaled Piculet, Picumnus squamulatus
  • White-bellied Piculet, Picumnus spilogaster
  • Guianan Piculet, Picumnus minutissimus
  • Spotted Piculet, Picumnus pygmaeus
  • Speckle-chested Piculet, Picumnus steindachneri
  • White-barred Piculet, Picumnus cirratus
  • Varzea Piculet, Picumnus varzeae
  • Ocellated Piculet, Picumnus dorbygnianus
  • Ochre-collared Piculet, Picumnus temminckii
  • White-wedged Piculet, Picumnus albosquamatus
  • Rusty-necked Piculet, Picumnus fuscus
  • Rufous-breasted Piculet, Picumnus rufiventris
  • Tawny Piculet, Picumnus fulvescens
  • Ochraceous Piculet, Picumnus limae
  • Mottled Piculet, Picumnus nebulosus
  • Plain-breasted Piculet, Picumnus castelnau
  • Fine-barred Piculet, Picumnus subtilis
  • Olivaceous Piculet, Picumnus olivaceus
  • Grayish Piculet, Picumnus granadensis
  • Chestnut Piculet, Picumnus cinnamomeus

  • African Piculet, Sasia africana
  • Rufous Piculet, Sasia abnormis
  • White-browed Piculet, Sasia ochracea

  • Antillean Piculet, Nesoctites micromegas

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