Galapagos Species Checklist

Camarhynchus pallidus

Sclater & Salvin, 1870

Domain Eukaryota
Kingdom Animalia
Division Chordata
Class Aves
Order Passeriformes
Family Thraupidae
Genus Camarhynchus

Camarhynchus pallidus  Sclater & Salvin, 1870


English common name: Woodpecker Finch

Spanish common name: Pinzón carpintero, artesano

Taxonomic comments: Syn.: Cactornis pallida Sclater & Salvin, 1870; Cactospiza pallida; Camarhynchus pallidus pallidus (Sclater & Salvin, 1870); Camarhynchus pallidus productus Ridgway, 1894; Camarhynchus pallidus striatipecta (Swarth, 1931)

Name status: Accepted name; taxon occurs in Galapagos.

Description: Black during reproduction, olive-light brown colour outside the breeding season and pinkish when young. Males and females look alike, with upper parts olive to warm brown with little streaking and underparts creamy to yellowish with slight streaking on upper breast. Males in San Cristóbal can get a black hood – blackish plumage was observed in approximately a fifth of the San Cristóbal population.

Like other finches, current threats are mainly from diseases and parasites. Is known to be affected by the parasitic fly Philornis downsi that causes heavy chick mortality. Highland birds that contracted pox in captivity, were heavily affected by this disease.

Last updated: 14 Nov 2017


  • In
  • Na

  • En

    Taxon occurs only in Galapagos.

  • Hy
  • Id
  • Mi
  • EnQ
    Questionable Endemic
  • Re
  • Va

IUCN Status

Considered to be facing a high risk of extinction in the wild.

Vulnerable - Considered to be facing a high risk of extinction in the wild.

The IUCN Red List assessments presented here may deviate from the global IUCN listings for the following reasons:

  • for well-known species groups, such as vascular plants or vertebrates, updates proposed to the IUCN are shown, rather than the outdated, but currently-used status;
  • for poorly-known species groups, such as lichenized fungi, a general assessment is not currently possible, therefore the list presented here is the regional IUCN Red List for the Galapagos Archipelago.


Galapagos island groups: Floreana, Isabela, Pinzón, San Cristóbal, Santa Cruz, Santiago.

Breeds on Isabela, Fernandina (probably), Santa Cruz, Santiago, San Cristóbal, and Pinzón (rarely). It has also been recorded on Rábida (specimens 1897 and 1905), Floreana (specimen 1905) and Santa Fe (two sight records 1968), and a sight record on Pinta in 1968.

Preference for altitude zone in Galapagos: Coastal zone-high altitude dry zone.

Please be aware that this distribution map is automatically generated from database records (CDF and external specimens, literature records, and observations) and may not accurately reflect the currently-known distribution for all species.

General Ecology

Habitat preferences: Most common in highlands but found all the way down to the coast in forested areas.

Trophic role: Carnivorous (feeding on animals).

Feeding type: Insectivorous (feeding on insects).
This is the famous tool-using finch of Galápagos able to use a cactus spine or a twig to get larvae from holes in wood. Uses this technique mainly during the dry season in the dry zone. Young birds can learn this behaviour, but adults cannot.

Feeding preferences: Feeds on insects and larvae gathered from the moss on trees as well as from under the bark on branches and trunks. Quite flexible in habits, can change foraging techniques between the wet and dry season, searching more in moss in the dry season.

Reproductive biology: Breeds during the rainy season (December to April), possibly start breeding a few weeks earlier than other finches. Male displays in front of a dome shape nest. Once chosen, the pair either use this nest or build a new one. Only females incubate (one to three eggs), both feed the chicks. Fledglings stay for up to 6 weeks with a parent, either with the male while the female starts a new clutch, or, one with the female and the other with the male.



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