First heard calling and drumming then eventually seen. For such a large, colorful woodpecker they sure camouflage well. This is a male which is determined by the red cheek. This is a large woodpecker and it is the size of a small crow. As with all of my sightings of this species, it was not far from the ground, this one was probably about 2 m from the ground on a barely surviving English walnut tree.
Hoffman's Woodpecker (Melanerpes hoffmannii). This woodpecker occurs from Southwest Nicaragua to Northern Costa Rica. We saw several of them over a two week period.
One of the characteristic markings of this species is that the nape (back of neck) is yellow. This male was busy hunting for bugs and was oblivious to my close presence.
Woodpeckers are well known for their drumming, the noise they emit when hammering a tree with their beaks. Drumming serves to attract a mate and to mark territory.
Most woodpeckers gather food by hammering at bark to find insects, but are also opportunistic and they will eat fruit, small reptiles, etc. Most woodpeckers are solitary, but a few like the Acorn Woodpecker form small social groups and collect acorns for food and place these in holes they create in trees.
Many woodpeckers excavate a nests in trees to rear their young. Old nests are important nesting space for other, non-woodpecker species.
Sapsuckers are a type of woodpecker that drill many holes in trees called “wells”. The sap that exudes from these wells is consumed by the sapsucker and often it is an attractant to insects which are also consumed by this group of woodpeckers.