Woodpeckers (Picidae)

Cardinal Woodpecker (Dendropicos fuscescens) - HBW 7, p. 465

French: Pic cardinal German: Kardinalspecht Spanish: Pito Cardenal

Taxonomy: Picus fuscescens Vieillot, 1818, Swellendam district, Cape Province, South Africa.
Sometimes regarded as forming a superspecies with D. abyssinicus. Races often treated as comprising three geographical groups: NE “hemprichii group”, also including massaicus; W & C “lafresnayi group”, also including sharpii and lepidus; and S “fuscescens group”, which also contains intermedius, centralis and hartlaubii. Races intergrade to variable extent, also interbreed, especially in E & S. Numerous other described races are all considered insufficiently differentiated to warrant recognition: cose.. View all taxonomy...

Taxonomy: Picus fuscescens Vieillot, 1818, Swellendam district, Cape Province, South Africa.
Sometimes regarded as forming a superspecies with D. abyssinicus. Races often treated as comprising three geographical groups: NE “hemprichii group”, also including massaicus; W & C “lafresnayi group”, also including sharpii and lepidus; and S “fuscescens group”, which also contains intermedius, centralis and hartlaubii. Races intergrade to variable extent, also interbreed, especially in E & S. Numerous other described races are all considered insufficiently differentiated to warrant recognition: cosensi, known from single type specimen (Senegal), is merged with lafresnayi, and camerunensis (Cameroon) with sharpii; chyulu (Chyulu Hills, in S Kenya) is synonymized with hartlaubii; loandae (N Angola to W Zaire) is synonymized with centralis, as are camacupae (Angolan plateau E to Malawi), stresemanni (N Namibia) and capriviensis (SW Zambia to N Botswana); harei (S Namibia) and orangensis (Orange River Basin in E South Africa) are lumped with nominate; and transvaalensis (S Zimbabwe and NE Transvaal), noomei (coastal S Mozambique and NE Natal) and natalensis (lowland E Transvaal and Natal) are regarded as synonyms of intermedius. Nine subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution:

  • lafresnayi Malherbe, 1849 - Senegambia E to Nigeria.
  • sharpii Oustalet, 1879 - Cameroon and Central African Republic E to S Sudan, S to N Angola and W Zaire.
  • lepidus (Cabanis & Heine, 1863) - E Zaire, and highlands of Ethiopia, Uganda, W & C Kenya, Rwanda and NW Tanzania.

     See all 9 subspecies
  • lafresnayi Malherbe, 1849 - Senegambia E to Nigeria.
  • sharpii Oustalet, 1879 - Cameroon and Central African Republic E to S Sudan, S to N Angola and W Zaire.
  • lepidus (Cabanis & Heine, 1863) - E Zaire, and highlands of Ethiopia, Uganda, W & C Kenya, Rwanda and NW Tanzania.
  • massaicus Neumann, 1900 - S Ethiopia at middle elevations, and W Kenya and C Tanzania at lower altitudes.
  • hemprichii (Ehrenberg, 1833) - Ethiopia (lower elevations), Somalia, and N & E Kenya.
  • centralis Neumann, 1900 - E Angola E to W Tanzania, S to N Namibia and Zambia.
  • hartlaubii Malherbe, 1849 - from Kenya-Tanzania border S to extreme E Zambia, Malawi and C Mozambique (R Zambezi).
  • fuscescens (Vieillot, 1818) - NC Namibia, Botswana, and most of South Africa E to S Transvaal and W Natal.
  • intermedius Roberts, 1924 - C Mozambique (R Zambezi) S to Transvaal and Natal.
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