The male woodpecker burrows out the nest, most often in the trunk of a dead tree. He works carefully to empty it of the wood chips, and finally one day the female approaches. First she inspects the surrounding area and if the location suits her, she inspects the nest. If she approves, a couple is formed. If not, she flies away and leaves the male to continue calling for a mate.

When the female has been won over, she helps complete the preparation of the nest. They take turns flying away to find food while one of them stays to guard their new home.