name = Piculets

image_caption = Ochre-collared Piculet
regnum = Animalia
phylum = Chordata
classis = Aves
ordo = Piciformes
familia = Picidae
subfamilia = Picumninae
subdivision_ranks = Genera
subdivision = "Picumnus"

The piculets are a distinctive subfamily of small woodpeckers which occur mainly in tropical South America, with just three Asian and one African species.

Like the true woodpeckers, piculets have large heads, long tongues which they use to extract their insect prey and zygodactyl feet, with two toes pointing forward, and two backwards. However, but they lack the stiff tail feathers that the true woodpeckers use when climbing trees, so they are more likely than their relatives to perch on a branch rather than an upright trunk.

Their bills are shorter and less dagger-like than the true woodpeckers, so they look for insects and grubs mainly in decaying wood. Similarly, they re-use woodpecker holes for nesting, rather than making their own holes. The eggs are white, as with many hole nesters.

Typically these birds have grey or dull green upperparts and dark-streaked white underparts.

ystematics and evolution

Although not well known from fossils, the evolutiuon of piculets is now considered rather straightforward. The disjunct occurrence of the genera, with one African species of the Southeast Asian "Sasia" and one Southeast Asian species of the American "Picumnus" is of comparatively recent origin. Molecular dating, calibrated with geographic events in the absence of a good fossil record, points at the Late Miocene, c. 8 MYA, as the point where the two genera divided into their two respective lineages. At that time, there was a notable global cooling period. The molecular distances between piculets and woodpeckers are comparatively small for subfamilies, agreeing with the hypothesis that the split between the three groups of woodpecker-like picids subfamilies occurred only during the Miocene climate optimum, around 15 MYA. The later radiation of South American piculets is probably to changes in topology and climate fluctuations during the Pliocene and Pleistocene. The genus "Verreauxia" may be accepted because of pronounced morphological similarities, but the two "Picumnus" lineages, despite having diverged long ago, are virtually alike except for head coloration (Fuchs "et al.", 2006).

The Antillean Piculet ("Nesoctites micromegas") has proven to be a very distinct species evolutionarily between piculets and woodpeckers (Benz "et al.", 2006) and thus is nowadays placed in a subfamily of its own.

The arrangement of species in the genera follows del Hoyo "et al" (2002).

Genus "Picumnus"
* Speckled Piculet, "Picumnus innominatus" (sometimes "Vivia")
* Bar-breasted Piculet, "Picumnus aurifrons"
* Orinoco Piculet, "Picumnus pumilus"
* Lafresnaye's Piculet, "Picumnus lafresnayi"
* Golden-spangled Piculet, "Picumnus exilis"
* Black-spotted Piculet, "Picumnus nigropunctatus"
* Ecuadorian Piculet, "Picumnus sclateri"
* Scaled Piculet, "Picumnus squamulatus"
* White-bellied Piculet, "Picumnus spilogaster"
* Guianan Piculet, "Picumnus minutissimus"
* Spotted Piculet, "Picumnus pygmaeus"
* Speckle-chested Piculet, "Picumnus steindachneri"
* Varzea Piculet, "Picumnus varzeae"
* White-barred Piculet, "Picumnus cirratus"
* Ocellated Piculet, "Picumnus dorbygnianus"
* Ochre-collared Piculet, "Picumnus temminckii"
* White-wedged Piculet, "Picumnus albosquamatus"
* Rusty-necked Piculet, "Picumnus fuscus"
* Rufous-breasted Piculet, "Picumnus rufiventris"
* Tawny Piculet, "Picumnus fulvescens"
* Ochraceous Piculet, "Picumnus limae"
* Mottled Piculet, "Picumnus nebulosus"
* Plain-breasted Piculet, "Picumnus castelnau"
* Fine-barred Piculet, "Picumnus subtilis"
* Olivaceous Piculet, "Picumnus olivaceus"
* Grayish Piculet, "Picumnus granadensis"
* Chestnut Piculet, "Picumnus cinnamomeus"

Genus "Verreauxia" (sometimes included in "Sasia")
* African Piculet, "Verreauxia africana"

Genus "Sasia"
* Rufous Piculet, "Sasia abnormis"
* White-browed Piculet, "Sasia ochracea"


* Benz, Brett W.; Robbins, Mark B. & Peterson, A. Townsend (2006): Evolutionary history of woodpeckers and allies (Aves: Picidae): Placing key taxa on the phylogenetic tree. "Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution" 40: 389–399. DOI|10.1016/j.ympev.2006.02.021 (HTML abstract)

* del Hoyo, J.; Elliott, A. & Sargatal, J. (editors) (2002): "Handbook of Birds of the World, Volume 7: Jacamars to Woodpeckers". Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. ISBN 84-87334-22-9

* Fuchs, J.; Ohlson, J. I.; Ericson, Per G. P. & Pasquet, E. (2006): Molecular phylogeny and biogeographic history of the piculets (Piciformes: Picumninae). "Journal of Avian Biology" 37(5): 487-496. DOI|10.1111/j.0908-8857.2006.03768.x (HTML abstract)

External links

* [http://ibc.hbw.com/ibc/phtml/familia.phtml?idFamilia=103 Piculet videos] on the Internet Bird Collection

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • piculeţ — PICULÉŢ s.n. Diminutiv al lui pic1; picuşor, picuş, picuţ. – Pic1 + suf. uleţ. Trimis de RACAI, 21.10.2003. Sursa: DEX 98  PICULÉŢ s. picuşor, (pop.) picuş, picuţ, (reg.) picuruţ. Trimis de siveco, 05.08.2004. Sursa: Sinonime  piculéţ s. n …   Dicționar Român

  • Piculet — Pic u*let, n. [Dim. of {Picus}.] (Zo[ o]l.) Any species of very small woodpeckers of the genus {Picumnus} and allied genera. Their tail feathers are not stiff and sharp at the tips, as in ordinary woodpeckers. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • piculet — /pik yeuh lit/, n. any of numerous small, tropical woodpeckers, chiefly of the genus Picumnus, that lack stiffened shafts in the tail feathers. [1840 50; < L picu(s) woodpecker + LET] * * * ▪ bird  any of about 29 species of small, stub tailed… …   Universalium

  • piculet — geneliai statusas T sritis zoologija | vardynas atitikmenys: lot. Picumnus angl. piculet vok. Zwergspecht, m rus. дятелок, m; мягкохвостый дятел, m pranc. picumne, m ryšiai: platesnis terminas – geneliai siauresnis terminas – akiniuotasis genelis …   Paukščių pavadinimų žodynas

  • piculet — [ pɪkjʊlɪt] noun a tiny woodpecker with a short tail. [Picumnus (Central and S. America) and other genera.] Origin C19: appar. a double dimin. of L. picus woodpecker …   English new terms dictionary

  • piculet — pic·u·let …   English syllables

  • piculet — /ˈpɪkjələt/ (say pikyuhluht) noun any of several small short billed woodpeckers, chiefly of the genus Picumnus, lacking stiffened shafts in the tail feathers. {Latin pīcu(s) woodpecker + let} …   Australian English dictionary

  • piculet — noun small woodpeckers of South America and Africa and East Indies having soft rounded tail feathers • Hypernyms: ↑woodpecker, ↑peckerwood, ↑pecker • Member Holonyms: ↑Picumnus, ↑genus Picumnus …   Useful english dictionary

  • White-barred Piculet — Taxobox name = White barred Piculet image width = 210px image caption = male status = LC | status system = IUCN3.1 regnum = Animalia phylum = Chordata classis = Aves ordo = Piciformes familia = Picidae genus = Picumnus species = P. cirratus… …   Wikipedia

  • Black-spotted Piculet — Taxobox name = Black spotted Piculet status = regnum = Animalia phylum = Chordata classis = Aves ordo = Piciformes familia = Picidae genus = Picumnus species = P. nigropunctatus binomial = Picumnus nigropunctatus binomial authority = Zimmer and… …   Wikipedia

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