The Checkered Woodpecker, Veniliornis mixtus, is a woodpecker (Family Picidae) found in eastern South America.
This bird is about 5 1/2 inches (14 cm) in length. This woodpecker is black and white, and the male has a red mark on the back of its head.
It is a widespread species and not considered threatened by the IUCN.
Veniliornis mixtus cancellatus - southern inland of Brazil, from the Huanchaca range in Bolivia to the Uruguay River)
Veniliornis mixtus malleator - Gran Chaco
Veniliornis mixtus berlepschi - Argentina south of the Gran Chaco to southern Buenos Aires Province
Veniliornis mixtus mixtus - Parana River to central Buenos Aires Province
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 analysesMoore et al. (2006) 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.
(2002): Handbook of Birds of the World . Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. ISBN 84-87334-37-7
(2006): Mitochondrial DNA phylogeny of the woodpecker genus Veniliornis and related genera implies convergent evolution of plumage patterns. Biol. J. Linn. Soc. 87(4): 611624. PDF fulltext
Arthur Grosset's Birds: Checkered Woodpecker - Photos of V. m. cancellatus
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