IUCN Species of the Day: Kaempfer’s Woodpecker


The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species(tm)
Kaemphers woodpecker

Photo credit: Ciro Albano


Kaempfer’s Woodpecker, Celeus obrien, is listed as ‘CRITICALLY ENDANGERED’ on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™. This woodpecker was previously feared extinct before being rediscovered in northeast Tocantins State, Central Brazil, in 2006, 80 years after the only previous record. It was long treated as a subspecies of another woodpecker from the Andes, but is distinct in several ways, not least its very different habitat.

The greatest threat to Kaempfer’s Woodpecker is the destruction of its Cerrado habitat. Within the region there are huge losses of indigenous Cerrado each year for soya and other crop cultivation, beef production, the cellulose pulp industry and infrastructural developments. The species’ habitat is also frequently degraded by criminal arsonism carried out to justify the expansion of cattle ranching.

Recent records suggest that Kaempfer’s Woodpecker may be more numerous than currently thought; it is now known to range discontinuously through some 280,000 square kilometres, showing a strong association with Gadua bamboo. However, with so little known about this elusive species, there is a pressing need for further surveys to determine the full extent of its range and to estimate its population size.


Geographic Region of the Kaempfer’s Woodpecker

Geographical region of Kaemphers woodpecker

Credit: IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™


To learn more about Kaempfer’s Woodpecker, click here. Or visit the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™ by clicking their logo below.

To learn more about the Bush Warriors “Species of the Day” feature, please click here and read up on our initiative to raise awareness about the loss of earth’s biodiversity.