Swiss Journal of Palaeontology

, Volume 130, Issue 2, pp 307-314

First online:

A new species of woodpecker (Aves; Picidae) from the early Miocene of Saulcet (Allier, France)

  • Vanesa L. De PietriAffiliated withNaturhistorisches Museum der Burgergemeinde Bern Email author 
  • , Albrecht ManegoldAffiliated withSenckenberg Forschungsinstitut, Sektion für Ornithologie
  • , Loïc CosteurAffiliated withNaturhistorisches Museum Basel
  • , Gerald MayrAffiliated withSenckenberg Forschungsinstitut, Sektion für Ornithologie

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We describe a new genus and species of woodpecker (Piciformes: Picidae), Piculoides saulcetensis, from the early Miocene (MN1–MN2) of Saulcet, in the “Saint-Gérand-le-Puy” area, central France, which is the earliest definite record of the family. The new species is represented solely by the distal end of a tarsometatarsus, which bears nonetheless diagnostic features that allowed us to place Piculoides saulcetensis in a phylogenetic context. Our results show that the fossil from Saulcet is either a stem-group representative of piculets (Picumninae) and true woodpeckers (Picinae) or of true woodpeckers only. Piculoides saulcetensis is similar to a fragmentary tarsometatarsus of a picid from the late Oligocene of southern Germany, and we thus hypothesize a close relationship between the two.


Piciformes Saulcet Saint-Gérand-le-Puy Piculoides Fossil birds Early Miocene