West Indian Woodpecker Melanerpes superciliaris

Robert A. Askins, Michael E. Akresh, and William K. Hayes
Version: 2.0 — Published October 29, 2020


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The West Indian Woodpecker is found on Abaco (both Great and Little Abaco), and San Salvador in The Bahamas, the island of Cuba and numerous islands off the Cuban coast, and Grand Cayman. It is absent from Cayman Brac and Little Cayman (35). The local population on Grand Bahama has apparently been extirpated, and recent records may be vagrants from the Abaco population (see Historical Changes to the Distribution).

Historical Changes to the Distribution

The Grand Bahama population is apparently extirpated. Emlen (36) did not find any West Indian Woodpeckers on Grand Bahama during extensive surveys of terrestrial birds in a wide variety of habitats in 1968 and 1969, and the population was described as extirpated or apparently extirpated by White (37) and Raffaele et al. (38), respectively. There are several recent records of West Indian Woodpeckers on Grand Bahama (39), but these appear to be recent colonists or vagrants from Abaco. Four of these records are accompanied by photographs, all of which show birds with pale nasal tufts consistent with specimens from Abaco (WKH personal observation). Approximately half of the specimens from the original Grand Bahama population had dark nasal tufts (WKH unpublished data). There have been no records of West Indian Woodpeckers on Grand Bahama since Hurricane Dorian, a Category 5 storm, heavily damaged woodlands on the island in September 2019.

Distribution of the West Indian Woodpecker
  • Year-round
  • Migration
  • Breeding
  • Non-Breeding
Distribution of the West Indian Woodpecker

Recommended Citation

Askins, R. A., M. E. Akresh, and W. K. Hayes (2020). West Indian Woodpecker (Melanerpes superciliaris), version 2.0. In Birds of the World (T. S. Schulenberg and B. K. Keeney, Editors). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. https://doi.org/10.2173/bow.weiwoo1.02