Family Woodpeckers (Picidae)

Least Concern

Golden-naped Woodpecker (Melanerpes chrysauchen)


French: Pic masqué German: Buntkopfspecht Spanish: Carpintero nuquigualdo

Melanerpes chrysauchen


, 1870,

Chiriquí, Panama


Sometimes placed in a separate genus Tripsurus, along with M. cruentatus, M. flavifrons and M. pucherani, and including M. pulcher, with which usually considered conspecific. Differs from pulcher, however, in crown of male distinctly unlike latter’s owing to yellow (not whitish) frons, less extensive red on mid-crown (not covering nape) and this red not so deep a shade (more flame than scarlet) (3); lower breast in both sexes plain (barring of upper flanks not extending across lower breast) (2); crown of female very different owing to yellow (not whitish) frons, larger area of this coloration on frons, much less broad and less rich black mid-crown (both at front edge and at back edge), with broader coloration on nape, which is mostly yellow as frons (flame-red with yellow lower fringe in pulcher) (3); dusky-black wings of female (blacker in chrysauchen) (ns[1]). Monotypic.


SW Costa Rica to W Panama.

Descriptive notes

c. 17–18 cm; 45–68 g. Male has golden-yellow forehead, occasionally tinged orange, red crown (often some olive-yellow feather bases visible), golden-yellow... read more


Resonant “churr”; loud, rattling or laughing short trill rapidly repeated 3–5... read more


Humid areas with dense tall rainforest, including edges of clearings, forest edge and plantations... read more

Food and feeding

Wood-boring beetles and their larvae, winged termites, also other insects. Takes much fruit: Cecropia, figs (Ficus),... read more


Mar–Jun; rarely, two broods in a season. Displays with deep bows accompanied by “churr” calls. Nest-hole excavated by... read more



Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Restricted-range species: present in South Central American Pacific Slope EBA. Has a fairly large range, within which it has been... read more

Recommended citation

Winkler, H. & Christie, D.A. (2020). Golden-naped Woodpecker (Melanerpes chrysauchen). 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 17 February 2020).