Woodpeckers (Picidae)

Elliot's Woodpecker (Dendropicos elliotii) - HBW 7, p. 469

French: Pic d’Elliot German: Elliotspecht Spanish: Pito de Elliot
Other common names: Johnston’s Woodpecker (johnstoni)

Taxonomy: Polipicus Elliotii Cassin, 1863, Muni River, Gabon.
Sometimes placed in a separate genus Mesopicos along with D. goertae, D. spodocephalus and D. griseocephalus; in past, sometimes separated alone in genus Polipicus. Race johnstoni regarded by some authors as a separate species, but interbreeds with nominate in Cameroon; apparent intermediates between these two races on Mt Kupé have been separated by some authors as race kupeensis but probably best considered a hybrid population. Other named races are schultzei (Bioko I) and sordidatus (Oku district, in Bamenda Highlands of Camero.. View all taxonomy...

Taxonomy: Polipicus Elliotii Cassin, 1863, Muni River, Gabon.
Sometimes placed in a separate genus Mesopicos along with D. goertae, D. spodocephalus and D. griseocephalus; in past, sometimes separated alone in genus Polipicus. Race johnstoni regarded by some authors as a separate species, but interbreeds with nominate in Cameroon; apparent intermediates between these two races on Mt Kupé have been separated by some authors as race kupeensis but probably best considered a hybrid population. Other named races are schultzei (Bioko I) and sordidatus (Oku district, in Bamenda Highlands of Cameroon), both of which seem indistinguishable from johnstoni. Angolan birds formerly split as race gabela or angolensis but they differ from nominate barely, if at all. Two subspecies currently recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution:

  • johnstoni (Shelley, 1887) - highlands of SE Nigeria, SW Cameroon and Bioko I.
  • elliotii (Cassin, 1863) - lowland SW Cameroon and SW Central African Republic discontinuously to Gabon and W Angola (Cuanza Norte S to Benguela), and E across W, SC & NE Zaire to SW & E Uganda (Kibale S to Bwindi Forest, also Mt Elgon).

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