Bennett’s Woodpecker inhabits woodland and savanna habitats with tall trees. It feeds mainly on ants and termites and their eggs and larvae, which it will dig out of their underground nests, and thus spends a lot of time on the ground. Adults measure about 23cm long and weigh around 70g.
These woodpeckers are usually encountered singly, in pairs or family groups, and use holes in trees as nests, either chiseled by themselves or taken over from other species. Both parents incubate the clutch of 2-6 eggs over period of almost three weeks. The chicks leave the nest about a month after hatching, but will remain with their parents up to the next breeding season, which spans spring and summer. It would appear that pairs are territorial throughout the year and not only in the breeding season.
The IUCN considers Bennett’s Woodpecker a species of least concern. It occurs from Burundi and Rwanda through much of east, central and southern Africa to South Africa’s Limpopo and Mpumalanga Provinces, with a few scattered records from other provinces. It is a close relative of, and easily confused with, the Golden-tailed Woodpecker. Shingwedzi Rest Camp in the Kruger National Park is a very reliable spot to see Bennett’s Woodpecker.