Black-cheeked Woodpeckers

The Black-cheeked Woodpecker (Melanerpes pucherani) is a resident (non-migratory) bird that occurs from southeastern Mexico south to western Ecuador.

This woodpecker occurs in the higher levels of wet forests, semi-open woodland and old second growth.

Black-cheeked Woodpecker, Melanerpes pucherani, MALE, Rancho Naturalista, Cartago Province, Costa Rica (2/20/13)
Member of the Picidae Family: WoodpeckersSapsuckersFlickers


It nests in an unlined hole 6-30 m high in a dead tree. The clutch is two to four glossy white eggs, incubated by both sexes.


The adult is 18.5 cm long and weighs 63 g. It has black upperparts with white barring on the back, white spotting on the wings and a white rump. The tail is black with some white barring, and the underparts are pale buff-olive with a red central belly.

There is a black patch through the eys and on the cheeks, a yellow forehead, and a red nape (back of the neck). The crown is red in the male and black in the female. Young birds are duller, have less white above and less red on the belly.


The Black-cheeked Woodpecker feeds on insects, but will take substantial quantities of fruit and nectar.

Call / Song:

This common and conspicuous species gives a rattling krrrrrl call and both sexes drum on territory.

Photo of author

Gordon Ramel

Gordon is an ecologist with two degrees from Exeter University. He's also a teacher, a poet and the owner of 1,152 books. Oh - and he wrote this website.

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