Hoffmann's Woodpecker Melanerpes hoffmannii

  • Order: Piciformes
  • Family: Picidae
  • Monotypic
  • Authors: Luis Sandoval



Nest construction usually begins in October or November, but the majority of nests are built from January to July (Sandoval and Barrantes 2006). The nest cavity entrance is circular: the height of the opening (mean ± SD; n = 32) is 5.92 ± 0.74 cm, and width (n = 32) is 5.20 ± 0.54 cm (Sandoval 2008). The depth of cavity depth is 18.20 ± 5.09 cm (n = 24; Sandoval 2008). Nests are constructed in the soft wood of dead trunks or branches with little or no vegetative cover, in species such as Erythrina sp. (Fabaceae), Lonchocarpus sp. (Fabaceae), Cecropia sp. (Moraceae), Bursera sp. (Burseraceae), Zanthoxylum sp. (Rutaceae), palms, and wood post. Nests are located from 1.06 to 6.00 m above the ground (n = 24; Sandoval and Barrantes 2006).


The breeding season extends from January to July, with two broods per year (Stiles and Skutch 1989, Winkler and Christie 2002, Sandoval and Barrantes 2006). They lay two or three unmarked white eggs, which both adult incubate. Eggs probably are laid at intervals of 2 days (inferred from differences in the developmental stage of chicks inside the same nest).


Both parents carry food for the nestlings that varied from larvae after chicks hatching to arthropods and fruits when the chicks are older and close to abandon the nest.

Recommended Citation

Sandoval, L. (2013). Hoffmann's Woodpecker (Melanerpes hoffmannii), version 1.0. In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. https://doi.org/10.2173/nb.hofwoo1.01