Cardinal Woodpecker ( Dendropicos fuscescens, family: Picidae)

cardinal woodpecker kruger national park birds The Cardinal Woodpecker (Latin name Dendropicos fuscescens) is described in Roberts Birds of Southern Africa, 7th Edition. This bird has a unique Roberts number of 486 and you will find a full description of this bird on page 135 also a picture of the Cardinal Woodpecker on page 145. The Cardinal Woodpecker belongs to the family of birds classified as Picidae.

The map of the Kruger you see on this page shows the areas (coloured orange) where this bird has been identified. The basic information was provided by the Avian Demographic Unit based at UCT and I created the maps from that information ... the green dots show the locations of the various Kruger National Park Rest Camps

The Cardinal Woodpecker is neither Endemic or near Endemic to the Kruger National Park. It is however a common resident

In terms of distribution of the Cardinal Woodpecker in the Kruger National Park you may not see it in all areas. Cardinal Woodpecker : see above distribution map.

Kruger Park Cardinal WoodpeckerIdentification assistance for this avian species ...

One of the first indicators to take note of when trying to identify a bird is it relative size. For example how big is the bird compared to a well known familiar bird. The Cardinal Woodpecker is a small bird about the size of a house sparrow. Do not take this relative indicator as anything other than a rough easy to remember indicator. It is not a accurate visualization. The height of the Cardinal Woodpecker is about 16 cms and its weight is about 30 gms

You will find that the male Cardinal Woodpecker plumage and colours are different to that of the female Cardinal Woodpecker. This image is of the male ... the female does not have the scarlet head cap. This bird was photographed in a commo coral tree at Punda Maria in August 2006.

  • Head is brown.
  • Eye is red, brown.
  • Bill is black.
  • Throat is white.
  • Back is brown.
  • Legs are grey.

This bird has normally proportioned leg length.

Main diet items for this bird ...

The Cardinal Woodpecker feeds on tree trunks mainly


Breeding and nesting habits for this bird ...

The Cardinal Woodpecker is monogamous unless its mate dies. In the event of a partner dying Dendropicos fuscescens will seek out a new mate

The nesting habit of Cardinal Woodpecker is to create the nest in a hole in a tree trunk. The bird lays eggs which are white in colour and number between 1 to 3

Habitat and flocking behaviour for this bird ...

The preferred habitats for Cardinal Woodpecker are: woodlands and grasslands

You will normally see the Cardinal Woodpecker in pairs.

Names of this avian species in other languages ...

Xhosa ... Isinqolamthi

Zulu ... iNqondaqonda

Afrikaans ...Kardinaalspeg

German ... Kardinalspecht

Portuguese ... Pica-pau-cardeal

French ... Pic cardinal

Dutch ... Kardinaalspecht

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For in-depth birding information please refer to these authoritative avian references ...

Robert's 7th edition number ... 486

The main reference source for this data was "Roberts - Birds of Southern Africa, 7th Edition" . Other references were "Newmans Birds of the Kruger Park" by Keith Newman published circa 1980 . Names in foreign languages were obtained from the Percy Fitzpatrick Institute of African Ornithology, University of Cape Town website ,