White-bellied Piculet Picumnus spilogaster


Justification of Red List Category

Based on a model of future deforestation in the Amazon basin it is suspected that the population of this species will decline rapidly over the next three generations, and it has therefore been uplisted to Vulnerable.

Population justification
The global population size has not been quantified, but this species is described as 'fairly common' (Stotz et al. 1996).

Trend justification
This species is suspected to lose 33.9-34.4% of suitable habitat within its distribution over three generations (13 years) based on a model of Amazonian deforestation (Soares-Filho et al. 2006, Bird et al. 2011). It is therefore suspected to decline by ≥30% over three generations.

Distribution and population

Picumnus spilogaster exists as three disjunct populations, each of which is considered a separate subspecies. Subspecies orinocensis is endemic to central Venezuela, where it is locally quite common on the llanos (plains) (del Hoyo et al. 2002). The nominate subspecies spilogaster is common at its westernmost point in northern Guyana. Its range is thought to extend through Suriname and Frecnh Guiana (del Hoyo et al. 2002, Restall et al. 2006), but there are no definite records in either of these countries (Winkler et al. 2014). The taxon's distribution reaches Roraima, north Brazil. Subspecies pallidius is endemic to north-east Brazil, occurring around Belém, east Pará state (del Hoyo et al. 2002). It is thought that the species may occur in Colombia, but it has never been recorded there (Restall et al. 2006).


This species occurs in a wide range of lowland habitats up to 100 m, including rainforest, clearings and especially swampy areas, including mangroves (del Hoyo et al. 2002). It is usually seen hopping along tree limbs, singly or in pairs (Hilty 2003).


The primary threat to this species is accelerating deforestation in the Amazon basin as land is cleared for cattle ranching and soy production, facilitated by expansion of the road network (Soares-Filho et al. 2006, Bird et al. 2011). Proposed changes to the Brazilian Forest Code reduce the percentage of land a private landowner is legally required to maintain as forest (including, critically, a reduction in the width of forest buffers alongside perennial steams) and include an amnesty for landowners who deforested before July 2008 (who would subsequently be absolved of the need to reforest illegally cleared land) (Bird et al. 2011).

Conservation actions

Conservation Actions Underway
None is known.

Conservation Actions Proposed

Expand the protected area network to effectively protect IBAs. Effectively resource and manage existing and new protected areas, utilising emerging opportunities to finance protected area management with the joint aims of reducing carbon emissions and maximizing biodiversity conservation. Conservation on private lands, through expanding market pressures for sound land management and preventing forest clearance on lands unsuitable for agriculture, is also essential (Soares-Filho et al. 2006). Campaign against proposed changes to the Brazilian Forest Code that would lead to a decrease in the width of the areas of riverine forest protected as Permanent Preservation Areas (APPs), which function as vital corridors in fragmented landscapes.


9 cm. Tiny, brown-and-white woodpecker. Pale brown upperparts. White fringes to flight feathers. White belly flecked with brown. Breast banded brown and buff. Black crown, with red tips to feathers. Voice A high-pitched thin trill lasting around three seconds.


Text account compilers
Butchart, S., Ekstrom, J., Khwaja, N., Symes, A., Sharpe, C J

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2020) Species factsheet: Picumnus spilogaster. Downloaded from on 30/09/2020. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2020) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 30/09/2020.