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Picus is a genus of birds in the woodpecker family. It has representatives in Europe, Asia and North Africa. The genus name is Latin for a woodpecker. The type species was originally unclear, but is likely to have been the European green woodpecker.[1]

Grünspecht Picus viridis.jpg
A female European green woodpecker (Picus viridis)
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Piciformes
Family: Picidae
Tribe: Picini
Genus: Picus
Linnaeus, 1758

see list

These are large woodpeckers, typically with green upperparts. They are found in forests or more open woodland, and lay their white eggs in a tree hole nest, typically on a bed of wood chips.

Picus woodpeckers are primarily insect eaters, with several species specialising in taking ants or termites. Some species will also consume fruit or eggs. Insects are captured by a rapid outward flick of the long tongue and gummed to its tip by sticky saliva.

This genus is less completely arboreal than some other woodpecker groups, and its members often feed on the ground, attacking anthills or termitaries.


Former speciesEdit

The following were formerly included in Picus, but are now placed in Chrysophlegma.


  1. ^ Jobling, James A (2010). The Helm Dictionary of Scientific Bird Names. London: Christopher Helm. p. 306. ISBN 978-1-4081-2501-4.