Family Woodpeckers (Picidae)

Least Concern

Black-cheeked Woodpecker (Melanerpes pucherani)


French: Pic de Pucheran German: Schläfenfleckspecht Spanish: Carpintero centroamericano

Zebrapicus Pucherani


, 1849,

Tobago; error = Colombia


Sometimes placed in Tripsurus, with M. cruentatus, M. flavifrons, M. chrysauchen and M. pulcher. Thought to be closest to M. chrysauchen (with pulcher). Alternatively, at times, placed in Centurus. N populations sometimes separated as race perileucus, with supposed tendency towards stronger white barring on upperparts and wings, but much overlap with S populations and racial separation seems inappropriate. Monotypic.


S Mexico (Veracruz, Chiapas) S to W Colombia and W Ecuador (S to El Oro; may occur also in W Loja) and extreme NW Peru (Tumbes)#R.

Descriptive notes

c. 17–19 cm; 42–68 g. Male has golden-yellow forehead, red crown and nape, variable amount of black at side of forecrown (and often some white feathers at front... read more


Commonest call a series of c. 4 short rattling trills on same pitch, “churrr, churrr, churrr... read more


Humid and wet evergreen forest, forest borders, scattered tall trees in clearings, and old... read more

Food and feeding

Spiders, termites, beetles, grubs, ants, caterpillars, and aerial insects. Also eats large quantities of plant material, including fruits,... read more


Mar–Jul. Nest-hole 4–30 m up in dead trunk (including of palm) or branch, in one case cavity 35 cm deep, entrance hole 10... read more



Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Common to fairly common throughout range. Occurs in several protected areas, including Tikal National Park (Guatemala), Braulio Carrillo and Cahuita... read more

Recommended citation

Winkler, H. & Christie, D.A. (2019). Black-cheeked Woodpecker (Melanerpes pucherani). 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 16 December 2019).