Backyard Birds

Hoffman’s Woodpeckers (Melanerpes hoffmannii)

The Hoffman’s Woodpeckers (Melanerpes hoffmannii) is named for the German naturalist Karl Hoffmann.

Member of the Picidae Family: WoodpeckersSapsuckersFlickers



Distribution / Habitat:

The Hoffmann’s Woodpeckers is a resident breeding bird from southern Honduras south to Costa Rica. It is a common species on the Pacific slopes, locally as high as 2150 m. It is expanding on the Caribbean slope, aided by deforestation.

This woodpecker occurs in deciduous open woodland, second growth, shade trees and hedges, but avoids dense forest.

Nesting / Breeding:

It nests in an unlined hole up to 9 m high in a tree. The clutch is two or three glossy white eggs, incubated by both sexes.


The adult Hoffmann’s Woodpeckers is 18 cm long and weighs 68g. Its upperparts and wings are neatly barred with black and white, and it has a white rump. The underparts are pale buff-grey with a yellow central belly patch.

The male has a white forehead, red crown, and yellow nape. The female as a white crown and forehead and reduced yellow nape. Young birds are duller, have less white above and less yellow on the belly.


The Hoffmann’s Woodpeckers feeds on insects, often extracted from decaying wood, but will take substantial quantities of fruit and nectar.

Call / Song:

This common and conspicuous species gives a rattling wicka-wicka-wicka call and both sexes drum on territory. It will mob the Ferruginous Pygmy Owl.


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.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Check Also
Back to top button