picus viridis

Picus (biology)

Picus is a genus of birds in the woodpecker family. It has representatives in Europe, Asia and North Africa.

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.

Species in taxonomic order


  • Grimmett, Inskipp and Inskipp, Birds of India ISBN 0-691-04910-6
  • Mullarney, Svensson, Zetterstrom and Grant, Collins Bird Guide ISBN 0-00-219728-6

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