The ground woodpecker (Geocolaptes olivaceus) is one of only three ground-dwelling woodpeckers in the world (the others are the Andean and Campo flickers). It inhabits rather barren, steep, boulder-strewn slopes in relatively cool hilly and mountainous areas of South Africa, Lesotho and Swaziland and has yet to be recorded outside of Southern Africa. It is found in a broad swath running from south-west to north-east, from the Cape Peninsula and Namaqualand to Mpumalanga.

It is the largest woodpecker in the region, reaching 30 cm in length. It usually lives in pairs or small parties and is best located by its loud, raucous 2-note call (chik-ree, chik-ree) with head-swinging. It often peers over or around rocks at intruders.

The diet of the ground woodpecker consists mainly of ants with their larvae, pupae and eggs. These are extracted from dead wood or between rocks, using its long, sticky tongue. It breeds in spring and early summer (August to November), nesting is in a tunnel excavated in the vertical bank of a stream or watercourse. Usually 3 glossy white eggs are laid in a chamber at the end of the tunnel.
Ground Woodpecker
Date Location Count
2021-07-10 11:20Rooi-Els3
2021-06-27 08:19Bushmans Nek5
2021-06-28 07:34Sani Pass (ZA)--low elevation (First 15km +-Sani Backpackers to ZA Border Post)2