Red-necked Woodpecker Campephilus rubricollis

  • Order: Piciformes
  • Family: Picidae
  • Polytypic: 3 subspecies
  • Authors: William S. Benish

Sounds and Vocal Behavior


The main vocalization of Red-necked Woodpecker, emitted by both sexes, is an explosive nasal call ("ngkah-ngkah" or "kikka") that is given repeatedly (ML11467 and XC38651) (Winkler et al. 1995:347). It is similar to loud calls of Crimson-crested Woodpecker and Magellanic Woodpecker (Campephilus magellanicus) (Winkler et al. 1995, Short 1970:122). In addition, "churring" calls ("ca-wa-rr-r" ) may be emitted when birds are agitated (ML30549, ML126842 and XC75343). Juveniles give excited begging cries in quick succession ("uhr-ah") when parents arrive at the nest cavity to feed them (XC2831). A squeaky sounding, begging call of a juvenile female during foraging can be heard at ML126868.

Nonvocal Sounds

The drum of Red-necked Woodpecker is a loud double-rap (XC14693) typical of woodpeckers in the Campephilus genus. Double-raps are used to mark territory and as a location signal between members of a pair. While foraging Red-necked Woodpecker makes tapping sounds of varying volume with its bill against tree trunks and branches as it pries and hammers wood (XC34666). Wing feathers are stiff and often noisy in flight (Hilty and Meyer de Schauensee 2003: 475) as can be heard with vocalizations at XC63270.

Recommended Citation

Benish, W. S. (2011). Red-necked Woodpecker (Campephilus rubricollis), version 1.0. In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA.