Woodpeckers (Picidae)

Red-crowned Woodpecker (Melanerpes rubricapillus) - HBW 7, p. 447

French: Pic à couronne rouge German: Rotkappenspecht Spanish: Carpintero Coronirrojo
Other common names: Little Red-headed Woodpecker; Wagler’s Woodpecker (Panama)

Taxonomy: Centurus rubricapillus Cabanis, 1862, Barranquilla, Colombia.
Sometimes combined with other barred congeners in a separate genus Centurus. Forms a superspecies with M. pygmaeus, and sometimes treated as conspecific, but geographical isolation, combined with minor morphological differences, supports allospecies treatment. Hybridizes with M. hoffmannii in C Costa Rica. Rather variable; population of SW Costa Rica described as race costaricensis, but now considered indistinguishable from nominate; relatively large and dark birds from Margarita I, NE Venezuela and Tobago named as race terricolor, but identical individuals .. View all taxonomy...

Taxonomy: Centurus rubricapillus Cabanis, 1862, Barranquilla, Colombia.
Sometimes combined with other barred congeners in a separate genus Centurus. Forms a superspecies with M. pygmaeus, and sometimes treated as conspecific, but geographical isolation, combined with minor morphological differences, supports allospecies treatment. Hybridizes with M. hoffmannii in C Costa Rica. Rather variable; population of SW Costa Rica described as race costaricensis, but now considered indistinguishable from nominate; relatively large and dark birds from Margarita I, NE Venezuela and Tobago named as race terricolor, but identical individuals occur in other parts of species’ range. In addition, race paraguanae may be invalid, as some individuals in E parts of range exhibit similar characteristics. Name “wagleri”, originally applied to birds from Panama, is junior synonym of rubricapillus. Four subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution:

  • rubricapillus (Cabanis, 1862) - SW Costa Rica E to N & C Colombia, Venezuela (except S), Tobago, W Guyana and coastal Surinam.
  • subfusculus Wetmore, 1957 - Coiba I (SW Panama).
  • seductus Bangs, 1901 - San Miguel I (SE Panama).
  • paraguanae (Gilliard, 1940) - Paraguaná Peninsula (NW Venezuela).