Chilean flicker -- 智利扑翅䴕 (Colaptes pitius)

Chilean flicker on rock
Loading more images and videos...

Chilean flicker fact file

Chilean flicker description

GenusColaptes (1)

The most common species of woodpecker in Chile, the Chilean flicker can be identified by the striking patterning of its plumage and its characteristic call, "pitio-pitio-pitio" (2). The upperparts are dark brown with pale brownish and yellowish-white fringes on the individual feathers, creating an irregular network of wavy bars. In contrast, the neck, breast and underparts are whitish-grey or buffy-white, with blackish-brown barring (2) (3). Other distinctive features of this species include bright yellow eyes and a tawny area that extends from the base of the bill around the cheeks. There are two recognised subspecies of the Chilean flicker, Colaptes pitius pitius and Colaptes pitius cachinnans, the latter being slightly larger, with thicker bars on the chest (2).

Also known as
Pitigüe, pitío, pitíu.
Length: 32 – 34 cm (2)

Chilean flicker biology

During his visit to South America, Charles Darwin was surprised to encounter two species of woodpecker that nest and forage on the ground in open areas, rather than in trees within woodland and forest like other members of the group (5). One of these species was the Chilean flicker, which is commonly observed foraging in the soil and amongst shrubs for insects and their larvae (2) (6). This species will also capture prey by using its strong bill to pierce wood and extract insect larvae with its tongue (2).

Only occasionally constructing its nest in cavities within tree trunks, the Chilean flicker mostly excavates nesting holes in cliffs, steep slopes and banks. A clutch of five or six eggs is usually laid within this cavity (2).

The Chilean flicker is frequently preyed upon by various South American raptors such as the rufous-tailed hawk (Buteo ventralis) and the American kestrel (Falco sparverius) (7) (8).


Chilean flicker range

The Chilean flicker is found almost exclusively in Chile (2), although individuals have also been recorded in Argentina (4). Subspecies Colaptes pitius pitius occurs from the northern-central region of Coquimbo to the southern region of Aysén, while Colaptes pitius cachinnans is distributed to the south, from Chiloé Island and Llanquihue province south to the Magallanes region (2).


Chilean flicker habitat

The Chilean flicker can be found from the coast to the foothills of the Andes, up to elevations of 2,000 metres above sea level (2). It inhabits bushes in open fields and dry, stony hills, as well as forest edges, but avoids entering the forest (2) (5).


Chilean flicker status

Classified as Least Concern (LC) on the IUCN Red List (1).

IUCN Red List species status – Least Concern


Chilean flicker threats

There are currently no major threats to the Chilean flicker’s survival (4). While the areas in which this species occurs are currently being affected by human encroachment, fire use and agriculture (9), it is considered to be relatively tolerant of habitat degradation (10).


Chilean flicker conservation

While there are currently no specific conservation measures in place for the Chilean flicker (4), it is likely to be found in several protected areas (11).

View information on this species at the UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre.

Find out more

To learn more about conservation initiatives in the Chilean flicker’s range visit:

For more information on this and other bird species please see:



This information is awaiting authentication by a species expert, and will be updated as soon as possible. If you are able to help please contact:


A population usually restricted to a geographical area that differs from other populations of the same species, but not to the extent of being classified as a separate species.


  1. IUCN Red List (April, 2009)
  2. Aves de Chile (June, 2009)
  3. Biggar, J. (2001) The Andes: A Trekking Guide. Andes, Kirkcudbrightshire.
  4. BirdLife International (June, 2009)
  5. Darwin, C.R. (1870) Notes on the habits of the pampas woodpecker (Colaptes campestris). Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London, 47: 705 - 706. Available at:
  6. Short, L.L. (1970) Habits and relationships of the Magellanic woodpecker. The Wilson Bulletin, 82: 115 - 123.
  7. Figueroa, R., Jiménez, J.E., Bravo, C.A. and Corales, E.S. (2000) The diet of the rufous-tailed hawk (Buteo ventralis) during the breeding season in southern Chile. Ornitologia Neotropical, 11: 349 - 352.
  8. Rojas, R.A.F. and Stappung, E.S.C. (2004) Summer diet comparison between the American Kestrel (Falco sparverius) and Aplomado Falcon (Falco femoralis) in AN agricultural area of Araucanía, southern Chile. Hornero, 19: 53 - 60.
  9. Reid, S., Cornelius, C., Barbosa, O., Meynard, C., Silva-García, C. and Marquet, P.A. (2002) Conservation of temperate forest birds in Chile: implications from the study of an isolated forest relict. Biodiversity and Conservation, 11: 1975 - 1990.
  10. Vasquez, R.A. and Simonetti, J.A. (1999) Life history traits and sensitivity to landscape change: the case of birds and mammals of mediterranean Chile. Revista Chilena de Historia Natural, 72: 517 - 525.
  11. World Database on Protected Areas (June, 2009)

Image credit

Chilean flicker on rock  
Chilean flicker on rock

© Daniel Cejudo

Daniel Cejudo


Link to this photo

Arkive species - Chilean flicker (Colaptes pitius) Embed this Arkive thumbnail link ("portlet") by copying and pasting the code below.

Terms of Use - The displayed portlet may be used as a link from your website to Arkive's online content for private, scientific, conservation or educational purposes only. It may NOT be used within Apps.

Read more about



MyARKive offers the scrapbook feature to signed-up members, allowing you to organize your favourite Arkive images and videos and share them with friends.

Play the Team WILD game:

Team WILD, an elite squadron of science superheroes, needs your help! Your mission: protect and conserve the planet’s species and habitats from destruction.

Conservation in Action

Which species are on the road to recovery? Find out now »

Help us share the wonders of the natural world. Donate today!


Back To Top