Crimson-crested woodpeckers in San Juan, Trinidad, in sweet T&T for Sweet TnT Magazine, Culturama Publishing Company, for news in Trinidad, in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, with positive how to photography.
Young crimson-crested woodpecker in San Juan, Trinidad.

Woodpeckers drill and drum in San Juan

A family of crimson-crested woodpeckers has taken up residence in San Juan. These woodpeckers are known to live in forests or woodland habitats. They admire the people going in and out of houses, shops, and churches in a community where trees are sparse.

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Photographing the woodpeckers

While these woodpeckers appear to enjoy living among humans, they do not welcome photographs. The two large parents and the young one would be having a time on a tree. They would not seem to care about people staring and pointing at them. As soon as a camera points in their direction, the parents are the first to fly away. They leave the juvenile behind. Maybe he has plenty to learn.

The woodpecker looks for food

When the woodpeckers are ready to eat, they seek insects living in crevices in the bark and excavate nest cavities. They mainly eat wood-boring insects and larvae, as well as ants, termites, small vertebrates and caterpillars.

They use their strong beaks to drill and drum on trees. They have long sticky tongues for extracting food. Their beaks are typically longer, sharper and stronger than the beaks of piculets and wrynecks. Their drilling and drumming are drowned out by the sounds of cars honking, children playing, and people chattering in the neighborhood.

Crimson-crested woodpeckers in San Juan, Trinidad, in sweet T&T for Sweet TnT Magazine, Culturama Publishing Company, for news in Trinidad, in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, with positive how to photography.

Social organisation

The larger crimson-crested woodpecker often displaces the smaller lineated woodpecker from trees when foraging, but without any confrontational behaviour (Kilham 1972). Crimson-crested woodpeckers have also been observed foraging in areas where marmosets have already established feeding grounds. These two also do not display any hostility and ignore one another. Campephilus melanoleucos is a very tame woodpecker (Kilham 1972). Source: UWI Online Guide to the Animals of Trinidad and Tobago 

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Spotting the woodpeckers

Many people may have these crimson-crested woodpeckers living in their backyards. If you are able to capture them with your camera, feel free to share your story and photo with readers of Sweet TnT Magazine. Email us at

January 2017

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