Knysna Woodpecker Campethera notata


Justification of Red List Category
This species is listed as Near Threatened because it has a small or very small population. There is no strong evidence that the population is presently in decline, but if any evidence is found to suggest an ongoing decline, the species may qualify for uplisting to a higher threat category.

Population justification
This species is locally common but thinly dispersed within its small coastal range. Its population is estimated to number 1,500-5,000 individuals, roughly equating to 1,000-3,300 mature individuals.

Trend justification
There is no evidence that the population is currently in decline, though there is some evidence that its habitat in the Eastern Cape Province is in decline (Peacock 2015). However, other work with atlas data suggest that its range may even have increased (Lee et al. 2017). Given the uncertainty over this, the species is tentatively assessed as being stable awaiting any further evidence.

Distribution and population

Campethera notata is a thinly dispersed endemic of the coastal lowlands of South Africa, extending north into southern KwaZulu-Natal and west to Caledon, Western Cape, and possibly further west (Peacock 2015). The total occupied range may be c.50,000 km2 (Peacock 2015) and its total population has been estimated at 1,500-5,000 individuals.


It is confined to coastal areas of forest, woodland, dense bush, Euphorbia scrub, or open country with large trees, extending marginally inland in places. The species feeds mainly on ants and ant larvae, as well as wood-boring beetles and their larvae (del Hoyo et al. 2002). Breeding takes place in August-November. The nest hole is excavated in a dead tree trunk or branch. It has a clutch size of 2-4 eggs, which it probably incubates for 12 days, followed by a fledging period of three or four weeks (del Hoyo et al. 2002). A lack of suitable nest-holes may limit the population in some areas.


A range contraction in KwaZulu-Natal in the 19th century has been attributed to the clearance of coastal bush for sugar-cane farming and township development.

Conservation actions

Conservation Actions Underway
An estimated 1,000-1,500 individuals are thought to occur in reserves, e.g. Oribi Gorge Nature Reserve (del Hoyo et al. 2002).

Conservation Actions Proposed
Conduct surveys to estimate the total population size. Monitor population trends through regular surveys. Carry out research into factors that possibly limit the species's population. Provide nest boxes for breeding (Peacock 2015). Increase the area of suitable habitat with protected status.


Text account compilers
O'Brien, A., Pilgrim, J., Robertson, P., Symes, A., Taylor, J. & Westrip, J.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2020) Species factsheet: Campethera notata. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 09/08/2020. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2020) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 09/08/2020.