Kaempfer’s Woodpecker Celeus obrieni is currently listed as Critically Endangered under criterion C2a(ii), because it was suspected to have a population numbering fewer than 250 mature individuals, undergoing a continued decline owing to habitat loss and degradation, with at least 90% of mature individuals in one sub-population.
Listing under this category has been maintained as a precautionary approach, despite recent records that extend the species’s known range (e.g., Pinheiro and Dornas 2008). Mapping of these records increases the current Extent of Occurrence (EOO) to c.313,000 km2. In addition, new records for Goiás state have recently been uncovered in museum collections (Pinheiro and Dornas 2008, Dornas et al. 2009), extending the species’s historic range to c.534,000 km2 and increasing the area over which the species may still be present. The species is suspected to be strongly associated with bamboo identified as Gadua paniculata, which has an extensive distribution, increasing further the potential range of C. obrieni (Pinheiro and Dornas 2008).
Draft range map for Kaempfer’s Woodpecker
The species’s scarcity within its range indicates that it exists at low densities, but the new EOO suggests that the species’s population is likely to number more than 250 mature individuals. However, no new estimates have been made of the population density and total population size.
Within its range cerrado woodland and gallery forest are regarded as very fragmented, with perhaps only 3-5% of its original habitat remaining (B. Hennessey in litt. 2010). Large-scale clearing has taken place for cattle ranches, with remaining patches of forest left excessively dry due to exposure, often with large hardwood trees removed. This species specialises in feeding on bamboo ants, with c.80% of its foraging time spent acquiring this food source; however, bamboo reportedly occurs in only 5% of the remaining forest (B. Hennessey in litt. 2010). In addition to clearance for pasture, the species’s habitats are threatened by conversion to other forms of agriculture, such as Soybean cultivation (P. Develey in litt. 2007).
Despite the apparent severity of threats, the rate of habitat loss and likely rate of population decline have not been estimated for this species. Further information is requested to help in the assessment the species’s population size and trend and thus inform the evaluation of its threat status.
Dornas, T., do Valle, N. C. and Hidasi, J. (2009) Celeus obrieni: dois novos registros históricos para o estado de Goiás. Atualidades Ornitológicas 147: 18-19
Pinheiro, R. T. and Dornas, T. (2008) New records and distribution of Kaempfer’s Woodpecker Celeus obrieni. Revista Brasileira de Ornitologia 16: 167-169