Hoffman's Woodpecker

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.

Hoffman’s Woodpecker (David Zittin, Costa Rica 2018)

Hoffman’s Woodpecker (David Zittin, Costa Rica 2018)

Hoffman’s Woodpecker (David Zittin, Costa Rica 2018)

Woodpeckers

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.

Acorn Woodpecker (David Zittin, Portal, Arizona June 2016). The Acorn Woodpecker is a social bird and form small groups of a dozen or less birds. They excavate holes in trees and pound an acorn into each hole for future consumption. Sometimes trees will contains thousands of holes. These hole grouping are called granaries.

Acorn Wooedpecker (David Zittin, Rancho San Antonio, CA)

Acorn Wooedpecker (David Zittin, Rancho San Antonio, CA)

Red-naped Sapsucker (David Zittin, Santa Clara County, California, 2017).

Red-naped Sapsucker (David Zittin, Santa Clara County, California, 2017). The Red-naped Sapsucker is rare in this county.

The Pale-billed Woodpecker (David Zittin, Costa Rica 2018). This woodpecker is found in Mexico and Central America. The narrow black line on the forehead indicates that this is a female of the species.