Gray Woodpecker

Mesopicos goertae
Dendropicos goertae

Gray Woodpecker, Mesopicos goertae, photo © by Michael Plagens.

Observed in on the grounds of the Kitale Club which ia adjacent to the agroforestry plot of the Kitale Museum, western Kenya. January 2012.

From Wikipedia: The Grey Woodpecker is a widespread and frequently common resident breeder in much of Sub-Saharan and equatorial Africa. It is a species associated with forest and bush which nests in a tree hole, laying two to four eggs. Like other woodpeckers, this species has a straight pointed bill, a stiff tail to provide support against tree trunks, and zygodactyl or “yoked" feet, with two toes pointing forward, and two backward. The long tongue can be darted forward to capture insects. This bird is 20cm in length. It is a typical woodpecker shape, and has unmarked green upperparts and a pale grey head and underparts. The rump is red, and there is a small red belly patch. The short tail is blackish. The adult male Grey Woodpecker has a red crown. Females have a plain grey head, lacking the red crown. Young birds are like the female, but the reds are paler, and there may be some flank barring. Like other woodpeckers, this species is an insectivore. It is frequently seen, and regularly taps or drums. The call is a loud and fast peet-peet-peet-peet.

Picidae -- Woodpecker Family


  • Birds of Kenya and Northern Tanzania by Zimmerman et al.
  • Birds of East Africa by Stevenson and Fanshawe

More Information:

Kenya Natural History

Copyright Michael J. Plagens, page created 26 June 2012