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West Indian Woodpecker

From Opus

FemalePhoto © by Arthur GrossetPlaya Larga, Cuba, 16 February 2005
Photo © by Arthur Grosset
Playa Larga, Cuba, 16 February 2005

Alternative names: Bahama Woodpecker, Cayman Woodpecker

Melanerpes superciliaris


[edit] Identification

Black and white barred back and tail, grey to buff underparts with some barring on the lower belly and crissum, red nasal tufts; the male has a red crown and nape whereas the female only has a red nape.

[edit] Distribution

Bahamas, Cayman Islands, Cuba, and Turks and Caicos Islands.

[edit] Taxonomy

Sometimes placed in genus Centurus. Distinctive race M. s. caymanensis is small and small-billed, with buff tinge on upperparts and little or no black on its face. It has been considered a separate species, the Cayman Woodpecker.

[edit] Subspecies

This is a polytypic species. Five subspecies recognized.[1].

  • M. s. nyeanus: Grand Bahama and San Salvador Island.
  • M. s. blakei: Great Abaco I. (northern Bahamas)
  • M. s. superciliaris: Cuba, Cantiles Keys and adjacent islands
  • M. s. murceus: Isle of Pines, Cayo Largo and Cayo Real
  • M. s. caymanensis: Grand Cayman Island.

[edit] Habitat

Forests, palm groves and mangrove forests.

[edit] Behaviour

[edit] Breeding

They nest in holes excavated in dead trees and in live or dead palms. Its abandoned nest holes are often used by other species such as the Cuban Screech Owl, the Cuban Pygmy Owl, the Cuban Parrot and the Cuban Parakeet. One female will raise two broods with different males concurrently.

[edit] Diet

Includes insects, larvae, lizards, frogs and fruit.

[edit] Vocalisations

Typical churr call a loud krrru, or repeated as krrruu-krrru-krrru.

[edit] References

  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2018. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2018. Downloaded from
  2. Winkler, H. & Christie, D.A. (2018). West Indian Woodpecker (Melanerpes superciliaris). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 28 November 2018).

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