Checkered Woodpecker Facts and Photos

Information about the Bird Checkered Woodpecker

The checkered woodpecker (Veniliornis mixtus) is a woodpecker (Family Picidae) found in eastern South America.

The bird is about 14cm (5.5in) long. It isis black and white, and the male has a red area on the back of its head.
It is a widespread species and not considered threatened by the IUCN.
Subspecific differences run contrary to Gloger's rule. V. m. malleator and V. m. berlepschi, which inhabit arid habitat, have darker and more prominent underside patterning, whereas the other two subspecies which are birds of mesic or riparian woodland are paler overall.
This species was until recently classified in the genus Picoides. With its sister taxon, the striped woodpecker, it was difficult to place in this genus due to the odd head-pattern and the fine, yet bold body and wing spotting. mtDNA COI and Cyt b sequence analyses have shown that their closest relative is rather the white-spotted woodpecker, Veniliornis spilogaster which unlike its congeners shares the two "Picoides"' pattern, but is abundistic. This species co-occurs with V. m. cancellatus over much of their range. In an apparent case of character displacement, the latter is by far the lightest and least-patterned subspecies.

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