• Welcome to BirdForum, the internet's largest birding community with thousands of members from all over the world. The forums are dedicated to wild birds, birding, binoculars and equipment and all that goes with it.

    Please register for an account to take part in the discussions in the forum, post your pictures in the gallery and more.
ZEISS DTI thermal imaging cameras. For more discoveries at night, and during the day.

West Indian Woodpecker - BirdForum Opus

Photo © by binus1963
Cuba, 24 September 2015

Alternative names: Bahama Woodpecker, Cayman Woodpecker

Melanerpes superciliaris


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

27–32 cm (10½-12½ in)
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.


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


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.


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


Forests, palm groves and mangrove forests.



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.


Includes insects, larvae, lizards, frogs and fruit.


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


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, S. M. Billerman, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2019. The eBird/Clements Checklist of Birds of the World: v2019. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  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 https://www.hbw.com/node/56173 on 28 November 2018).

Recommended Citation

External Links