Woodpeckers (Picidae)

Golden-fronted Woodpecker (Melanerpes aurifrons) - HBW 7, p. 449

French: Pic à front doré German: Goldstirnspecht Spanish: Carpintero Frentidorado
Other common names: Gold-fronted Woodpecker

Taxonomy: Picus Aurifrons Wagler, 1829, Hidalgo, Mexico.
Sometimes combined with other barred congeners in a separate genus Centurus. Forms a superspecies with M. hoffmannii, and sometimes regarded as conspecific. Hybridizes with latter in S Honduras (R Pespire), with M. carolinus in S USA (Texas) and infrequently with M. uropygialis in SW Mexico. Geographical variation complex, and strong clinal variation in many plumage characters, making delimitation of races very difficult; in addition, mainland races, themselves variable to greater or lesser extent, intergrade, producing many populations with intermediate characters.. View all taxonomy...

Taxonomy: Picus Aurifrons Wagler, 1829, Hidalgo, Mexico.
Sometimes combined with other barred congeners in a separate genus Centurus. Forms a superspecies with M. hoffmannii, and sometimes regarded as conspecific. Hybridizes with latter in S Honduras (R Pespire), with M. carolinus in S USA (Texas) and infrequently with M. uropygialis in SW Mexico. Geographical variation complex, and strong clinal variation in many plumage characters, making delimitation of races very difficult; in addition, mainland races, themselves variable to greater or lesser extent, intergrade, producing many populations with intermediate characters; grateloupensis possibly no more than an intergrade population. Subspecific treatment has varied greatly in the past, and some authors have recognized only 9 or fewer races; conversely, others have grouped races to form up to 4 separate species; further study needed. Paler birds from C Texas S to W Mexican Plateau described as race incanescens, but considered better merged with nominate; others from interior Chiapas described as race frontalis, tending towards nominate, but better treated as part of polygrammus. Twelve subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution:

  • aurifrons (Wagler, 1829) - S USA from NW Texas and SW Oklahoma S across Mexican Plateau to Jalisco, NW San Luis Potosí and Hidalgo.
  • grateloupensis (Lesson, 1839) - C San Luis Potosí and SW Tamaulipas to E Puebla and C Veracruz.
  • veraecrucis Nelson, 1900 - Atlantic slope from S Veracruz to NE Guatemala.

     See all 12 subspecies
  • aurifrons (Wagler, 1829) - S USA from NW Texas and SW Oklahoma S across Mexican Plateau to Jalisco, NW San Luis Potosí and Hidalgo.
  • grateloupensis (Lesson, 1839) - C San Luis Potosí and SW Tamaulipas to E Puebla and C Veracruz.
  • veraecrucis Nelson, 1900 - Atlantic slope from S Veracruz to NE Guatemala.
  • dubius (Cabot, 1844) - Yucatán Peninsula S to NE Guatemala and Belize.
  • polygrammus (Cabanis, 1862) - Pacific slope from SW Oaxaca E through interior Chiapas.
  • santacruzi (Bonaparte, 1838) - SE Chiapas E to El Salvador, SW Honduras and NC Nicaragua.
  • hughlandi Dickerman, 1987 - upper R Negro and upper Motagua Valley in Guatemala.
  • pauper (Ridgway, 1888) - coastal N Honduras.
  • leei (Ridgway, 1885) - Cozumel I (off NE Yucatán Peninsula).
  • turneffensis Russell, 1963 - Turneffe Is (off Belize).
  • insulanus (Bond, 1936) - Utila I (off N Honduras).
  • canescens (Salvin, 1889) - Roatán I and Barbaretta I (E of Utila).