Neotropical Birds
Version  1.0
This is a historic version of this account.   Current version

Yellow-tufted Woodpecker Melanerpes cruentatus

Kara Jones
Version: 1.0 — Published November 25, 2014

Sounds and Vocal Behavior


Yellow-tufted Woodpecker is very vocal and has an extensive repertoire. Perhaps the most frequently heard vocalizations are those given in groups, especially a "cat-sup, cat-sup, cat-sup, cat-sup with a nasal quality" (Short 1970) or "a wik-up wik-up series" (Lane, in Schulenberg et al. 2010), which frequently is given when two birds meet (Short 1970). Other vocalizations include chowp and repeated churrr-dowp calls, given by single birds (Short 1970); and, in groupos of two or more individuals, a series of rapid, staccato, high-pitched kwirr notes, usually five times in succession; 
, with a single longer kwi note followed by a variable number of ih notes, usually with longer pauses between progressive ih notes,; frenetic high-pitched eh notes in various combinations; and a repeated phrase consisting of three notes in rapid succession, vi-o-lin.

Additional audio recordings of vocalizations of Yellow-tufted Woodpecker can be heard at Macaulay Library and at xeno-canto.

Nonvocal Sounds

Rapid drumming with bill.

Recommended Citation

Jones, K. (2014). Yellow-tufted Woodpecker (Melanerpes cruentatus), version 1.0. In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. https://doi.org/10.2173/nb.yetwoo2.01
Birds of the World


A global alliance of nature organizations working to document the natural history of all bird species at an unprecedented scale.