Ochraceous Piculet Picumnus limae


Justification of Red List Category
This species is listed as Least Concern as both its range and population are much greater than once thought owing to its ability to persist in degraded and even urban habitats.

Population justification
The global population has been estimated a c.1,000,000 individuals (W. Silva in litt. 2007).

Trend justification
Despite loss of forest habitat and fragmentation, the species appears to be able to persist in degraded habitat and even urban areas, and there is no evidence of a significant decline (W. Silva in litt. 2007).

Distribution and population

Picumnus limae is known from the Serra de Ibiapaba, Serra do Baturité and Serra do Arataruai in north-central Ceará, north-east Brazil. New information suggests it is far more numerous and widespread than was previously thought, and its range covers the northern half of the State of Ceara and a small part of eastern Rio Grande do Norte. It persists in degraded and urban habitats, and its population is now estimated at 1,000,000 individuals (W. Silva and C. Albano in litt. 2007).


The species inhabits a diverse number of environments, from semi-deciduous hillside forests and the adjacent dryer tall caatinga to moist forests at elevations up to 1,000 m (Parker et al. 1996, A. Whittaker in litt. 1999), as well as degraded habitats such as degraded forest edge with exotic bamboo and abandoned orchards (A. Whittaker in litt. 1999), and urban areas (W. Silva and C. Albano in litt. 2007, C. Albano in litt. 2009).


Potentially suitable forest and caatinga habitat has been reduced through agricultural expansion, grazing and burning (Short 1982). Only 1% of original forest remains in the Serra do Baturité, largely as a result of clearing for sun coffee since the early 1970s (R. Otoch per F. Olmos in litt. 1999). Remaining habitat is threatened by the construction of holiday homes, and fires (R. Otoch per F. Olmos in litt. 1999). However, the species appears to be able to persist in degraded and even urban habitats, and as such is considered to be far less threatened by habitat loss than was previously thought (W. Silva and C. Albano in litt. 2007).

Conservation actions

Conservation Actions Underway
An environmental protection area was decreed in the Serra do Baturité in 1991, but its effectiveness in protecting forest habitat is unclear (R. Otoch per F. Olmos in litt. 1999). Local hotels protect some habitat in this serra (A. Whittaker in litt. 1999).

Conservation Actions Proposed
Resolve the confusing taxonomic relationship between the saturatus subspecies assigned to P. fulvescens and this species.


10 cm. Tiny woodpecker. Black crown dotted white (forecrown red in males). Brown ear-coverts and upperparts. Uniformly buff underparts. Voice High-pitched series, sirr-sirr-sirr ...


Text account compilers
Calvert, R., Hermes, C., Benstead, P., Palmer-Newton, A., Symes, A., Williams, R., Capper, D.

Olmos, F., Whittaker, A., Albano, C., Renaudier, A., Minns, J.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2020) Species factsheet: Picumnus limae. Downloaded from on 13/07/2020. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2020) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 13/07/2020.