Picus sharpei 


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Aves Piciformes Picidae

Scientific Name: Picus sharpei
Species Authority: (Saunders, 1872)
Regional Assessments:
Common Name(s):
English Iberian Green Woodpecker
Taxonomic Source(s): del Hoyo, J., Collar, N.J., Christie, D.A., Elliott, A. and Fishpool, L.D.C. 2014. HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World. Lynx Edicions BirdLife International.
Taxonomic Notes: Picus viridis has been split into P. viridis and P. sharpei by the BirdLife Taxonomic Working Group following studies by Perktas (2011) and Olioso & Pons (2011), based on analysis of morphological differences between viridis, sharpei and vaillantii, and the narrow intergradation zone between viridis and sharpei. This analysis also confirms the validity of P. vaillantii as a species. P. (viridis) innominatus is also given specific status by Perktas (2011), however this treatment is not accepted by the BTWG as claimed differences seem small.
Identification information: 31-33 cm woodpecker. Upperparts green, rump and uppertail coverts yellowish. Male has red forehead to nape, lores blackish becoming grey in superciliary and subocular areas and side of crown (del Hoyo et al. 2015). Female has all black malar stripe and often more obvious pale edge above, crown with more grey tips. Medium-length bill, dark grey or blackish, slightly chisel-tipped. Iris white to pinkish. Legs olive-grey. Juvenile duller than adult. Similar spp. Differs from Eurasian Green Woodpecker P. viridis by having very little or no black on face and having a browner iris compared to whiter iris in P. viridis. Differs from Maghreb Green Woodpecker P. vaillantii in red vs. black malar stripe on male. Voice Main call a low "kyack" and variations. Distinctive laughing song in breeding season.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Near Threatened ver 3.1
Year Published: 2015
Date Assessed: 2015-10-01
Assessor(s): BirdLife International
Reviewer(s): Symes, A.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Symes, A., Wright, L, Pople, R., Burfield, I., Ashpole, J, Ieronymidou, C. & Wheatley, H.
This recently-split species is undergoing moderately rapid declines in Spain, which holds the vast majority of the population. It has therefore been uplisted to Near Threatened as it almost meets the requirements for listing as threatened under criteria A2abc+3bc+4abc.
Previously published Red List assessments:
2013 Least Concern (LC)
2012 Least Concern (LC)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: The species is endemic to Spain, Portugal and extreme south-west France, where it is found irregularly from Pyrénées-Atlantiques to Hérault (del Hoyo et al. 2015). Spain holds c. 90% of the European population with the most recent estimate for the Spanish population at c. 236,000-420,500 pairs (BirdLife International 2015).
Countries occurrence:
Andorra; France; Portugal; Spain
Continuing decline in area of occupancy (AOO): Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in area of occupancy (AOO): No
Estimated extent of occurrence (EOO) - km2: 524000
Continuing decline in extent of occurrence (EOO): Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in extent of occurrence (EOO): No
Continuing decline in number of locations: Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in the number of locations: No
Upper elevation limit (metres): 3000
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: The total population is estimated at 246,000-471,000 pairs, which equates to 492,000-941,000 mature individuals (BirdLife International 2015) and 738,000-1,411,500 individuals.

Trend Justification:  The population size is estimated to be decreasing at a rate approaching 30% in 16.8 years (three generations) (BirdLife International 2015).
Current Population Trend: Decreasing
Additional data:
Number of mature individuals: 492000-941000 Continuing decline of mature individuals: Yes
Extreme fluctuations: No Population severely fragmented: No
Continuing decline in subpopulations: Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in subpopulations: No All individuals in one subpopulation: No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: This species is found in relatively dry open woodland, both deciduous and mixed, as well as plantations, orchards, farmland and pastures, parks and gardens and locally in grassy dunes. It requires some mature trees and clearings with adjacent grassland and is found in the lowlands and hills to mountains up to ca. 3,000 m. It lays from the end of March to June. Both parents incubate the clutch which is usually five to eight eggs. The nest is excavated at up to 10 m in a tree (del Hoyo et al. 2015). It feeds on ground-dwelling ants. Other insects are taken on the ground or in trees and occasionally fruit is taken too (Gorman 2014). The species is resident, with some local movements outside the breeding season (del Hoyo et al. 2015).
Systems: Terrestrial
Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat: Unknown
Generation Length (years): 5.6
Movement patterns: Not a Migrant

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): No serious threats have been identified for this species. Habitat loss is not yet a great problem, but it is believed that in future years it could become so (del Hoyo et al. 2015). It is thought the intensification of agriculture and forestry, as well as the conversion of pasture to arable land can affect populations of this species by reducing the population of ants. The clearing of wooded hedgerows, copses, isolated groves and riverine woodland can limit potential nesting sites. Wildfires may have caused a decrease in the populations in Mediterranean regions. Other threats include localized illegal hunting and very cold winters (Martí and del Moral 2004).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Conservation and Research Actions Underway
Bern Convention Appendix II. There are no known current conservation measures for this species.

Conservation and Research Actions Proposed
Habitat management for this species should include the conservation of old trees for nesting in woodlands, orchards and villages and the maintenance and restoration of feeding grounds such as small meadows, pastures, orchards and heaths (Tucker and Heath 1994). Monitoring and research are needed to inform future conservation measures.

Citation: BirdLife International. 2015. Picus sharpei. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2015: e.T22725015A82730525. . Downloaded on 01 December 2015.
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