Adult male Stripe-breasted Woodpecker Dendrocopos atratus. This species is locally common in wooded uplands in SE Asia. Females lack red on the crown. Photo taken at Chiang Dao, NW Thailand, November 2013, by Gerard Gorman.
So how many species of woodpecker (the Picidae) are there on the planet today ? Well, first of all, that depends upon what we define as a species. The various taxonomic authorities differ on this issue, with some recognising certain taxa as species, others recognising the same taxa as sub-species (races). And what about those species that have not been seen alive in the wild for many decades ? Do we include those ? I have put a lot of thought into this question and considered many things as I prepared my forthcoming book: my figure is 239 species. The way things are in the taxonomic world, this figure may well change, increasing or decreasing, by the time a 2nd edition appears. GG. Photo: Adult male Smoky-brown Woodpecker Picoides fumigatus, Costa Rica, by Gerard Gorman.