Crimson-crested Woodpecker Campephilus melanoleucos

  • Order: Piciformes
  • Family: Picidae
  • Polytypic: 2 subspecies
  • Authors: Connor Rosenblatt


Nesting: As observed by Kilham in Panama, Crimson-crested Woodpecker pairs begin nesting at the end of the rainy season and first of the dry season in November, continuing on through January (Kilham 1972, Willis and Eisenmann 1979). Nests also reported from April in Trinidad (Belcher and Smooker 1936), Suriname in February-April (Haverschmidt 1968) and from Colombia in February (Hilty and Brown 1986).

Both male and female excavate the nesting cavity. When choosing nest location, these birds are often aware of any chance of them sharing the trees with any unwanted arboreal mammals, and these trees often have a diameter of 45-50 cm. During excavation, pairs will often express interest in each other, with both sexes frequently drumming or calling (Kilham 1972). One nest in Trinidad was 9 m above the ground (Belcher and Smooker 1936). The clutch is two; the eggs are white, unmarked, and measure 35 x 26 mm and 36 x 26 mm (n = 2, 1 clutch; Belcher and Smooker 1936).

Upon hatching of the eggs, both sexes display extreme restlessness. When one sex returns to the nest with food for the young, the other sex immediately swings out of the cavity and goes to look for more food (Kilham 1972).

Young after leaving nest: Once out of the nest, males have been observed feeding large grubs to begging juveniles. However, the juveniles were only fed about once an hour even when begging, and, as a result, did some foraging on their own (Kilham 1972).

Recommended Citation

Rosenblatt, C. (2012). Crimson-crested Woodpecker (Campephilus melanoleucos), version 1.0. In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA.