Thai National Parks

Birds of Thailand

Species of Thailand

Crimson-breasted woodpecker

In Thai: นกหัวขวานอกแดง, nok hua khwaan ok daeng

Binomial name: Dryobates cathpharius, Edward Blyth, 1843

The crimson-breasted woodpecker or scarlet-breasted woodpecker (Dryobates cathpharius) is a species of bird in the family Picidae. It is found in Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, India, Laos, Myanmar, Nepal, Thailand, and Vietnam. Its natural habitats are subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests and subtropical or tropical moist montane forests. Some taxonomic authorities continue to place this species in the genus Dendrocopos. The scarlet-breasted woodpecker (Dryobates cathpharius pernii), is considered to be distinct by some authorities, but others consider it to be conspecific.


The taxonomy of this species is somewhat confused. D. cathpharius is sometimes included with

Dendrocopos pernyii as a single species, but the two have various amounts of red on head and breast and other distinguishing features, including size. In their Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive, del Hoyo, J. et al. recognises them as separate species. Molecular analysis puts both close to D. minor and D. pubescens. There are three subspecies; D. c. cathpharius from western and central Nepal to Arunachal Pradesh in northeastern India; D. c. ludlowi from southeastern Tibet; and D. c. pyrrhothorax from Meghalaya, Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram and western Myanmar.


The mantle, back and wings are black, with some white spotting and light barring on the wings and one larger white patch. The upper side of the tail is black with white barring on the outer feathers, and the underside is barred in black and white. The chin and throat are white, the central breast is red and the rest of the breast and belly are white or buff streaked with black, with a varying amount of red or pink near the vent. The forehead is white and the crown black, and the male has a red patch on the nape. A black streak extends from the malar region to the nape before continuing to the sides of the chest.

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Scientific classification

Dryobates cathpharius

Common names

  • Thai: นกหัวขวานอกแดง, nok hua khwaan ok daeng

Conservation status

Least Concern (IUCN3.1)

Least Concern (IUCN3.1)


Crimson-breasted woodpecker

Range Map

Distribution map of Crimson-breasted woodpecker, Dryobates cathpharius in Thailand
Range map of Dryobates cathpharius in Thailand