Family Woodpeckers (Picidae)

Least Concern

Hoffmann's Woodpecker (Melanerpes hoffmannii)


French: Pic de Hoffmann German: Hoffmannspecht Spanish: Carpintero de Hoffmann

Centurus Hoffmannii


, 1862,

Costa Rica


Sometimes separated with other barred congeners in Centurus. Has been reckoned closest to M. aurifrons, and was formerly regarded by some as conspecific, but recent molecular phylogeny indicates that present species occupies a near-basal position in genus#R. Hybridizes with M. aurifrons in S Honduras (R Pespire) and with M. rubricapillus in C Costa Rica, producing numerous individuals with intermediate appearance (e.g. majority between Tárcoles and Quepos, in Costa Rica, have orange hindneck and belly). Monotypic.


Pacific slope from S Honduras and Nicaragua S to Costa Rica (S to Quepos, and on Caribbean slope to Turrialba).

Descriptive notes

c. 19–21 cm; 62–84 g. Male has pale golden-yellow nasal tufts, red crown patch, golden-yellow to orange-yellow nape and hindneck sometimes with few scattered red... read more


Most common are loud to soft “churr” calls, like those of M. aurifrons; hard... read more


Xeric to mesic open and semi-open country. Typically, deciduous forest, light woodland, second... read more

Food and feeding

Insects, particularly ants, beetles, lepidopterans, and their larvae. Eats many fruits, including figs (Ficus), also Cecropia... read more


Feb–Jul; often 2 broods. Monogamous, in pairs throughout year; solitary nester. Often conspicuous encounters between pairs before... read more



Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Fairly common to common in N of range; common to locally very common in Costa Rica. Occurs in Santa Rosa, Palo Verde and Barra Honda National Parks... read more

Recommended citation

Winkler, H. & Christie, D.A. (2019). Hoffmann's Woodpecker (Melanerpes hoffmannii). 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 9 December 2019).