Jamaican Woodpecker Melanerpes radiolatus

  • © Chris Gabay

A raucous, abundant, and widespread bird, the Jamaican Woodpecker is hard to miss during any outing to wooded areas anywhere in Jamaica. This is fortunate, as the Jamaican Woodpecker is both charismatic and beautiful.  The Jamaican Woodpecker has a white face and pale underparts with a yellow wash, a densely barred black-and-white back, a red crown, and a blackish tail. Jamaican Woodpeckers will travel alone or in pairs or small groups, but occasionally more can be seen in an emergent flowering tree.  While it is easy enough to see, the Jamaican Woodpecker is very loud and vocal, making an auditory detection perhaps more frequent than a sighting.  The Jamaican Woodpecker seems tolerant of at least some human disturbance, using lone trees standing above otherwise homogenous coffee plantations with gusto. Most vocalizations are typical Melanerpes rattles, however, one call given frequently is very similar to the crok! of a Black-crowned Night-heron (Nycticorax nycticorax.)

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© Robert L. Sutton

  • Year-round
  • Migration
  • Breeding
  • Non-Breeding

Recommended Citation

Jamaican Woodpecker (Melanerpes radiolatus), In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. retrieved from Neotropical Birds Online: https://neotropical.birds.cornell.edu/Species-Account/nb/species/jamwoo1