Acorn Woodpecker Melanerpes formicivorus



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Medium-sized woodpecker with a clownish face. Males have a red cap and whitish forehead. In flight, note white rump and wing patches.


Clown-faced woodpecker with a black back. Females have a black cap and the red is restricted to the back of the head unlike males.


Gathers acorns by the hundreds and wedges them into holes they’ve made in a tree trunk or telephone pole, storing them for later use.


Males in Colombia have reduced red crowns while females lack red crowns all together. The throat is yellower than individuals farther north in the United States.


Individuals from Costa Rica and Panama have brighter yellow throats. Some individuals also have red feathers on the chest.


Found in oak and pine-oak woodlands. Creates granaries in dead trees, storing acorns and other seeds for later use.

Recommended Citation

Acorn Woodpecker (Melanerpes formicivorus), In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. retrieved from Neotropical Birds Online: