Woodpeckers

Woodpecker bird found widely distributed in the Indian subcontinent and they also known as the lesser golden-backed woodpecker or lesser golden-back, it is the black-rumped flameback (Dinopium benghalense). It is one of the few woodpeckers that are seen in urban areas. It has a characteristic rattling-whinnying call and an undulating flight. It is the only golden-backed woodpecker with a black throat and black rump.

Woodpecker bird in Baishnabghata Patuli, Kolkata

The black-rumped flameback is a large woodpecker bird species at 26–29 cm in length. It has a typical woodpecker shape, and the golden yellow wing coverts are distinctive. The rump is black and not red as in the greater flameback. The underparts are white with dark chevron markings. The black throat finely marked with white immediately separates it from other golden backed woodpeckers in the Indian region. The head is whitish with a black nape and throat, and there is a greyish eye patch. Unlike the greater flameback it has no dark moustache stripes.

The adult male woodpecker birds has a red crown and crest. Females have a black forecrown spotted with white, with red only on the rear crest. Young birds are like the female, but duller. Like other woodpeckers, this species has a straight pointed bill, a stiff tail to provide support against tree trunks, and zygodactyl feet, with two toes pointing forward, and two backward. The long tongue can be darted forward to capture insects.

Woodpecker bird, male

Woodpecker birds are often seen in urban areas with wooded avenues. It is somewhat rare in the Kutch and desert region of Rajasthan. This flameback is found mainly on the plains going up to an elevation of about 1200m in Pakistan, India south of the Himalayas and east till the western Assam valley and Meghalaya, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. It is associated with open forest and cultivation.

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This woodpecker bird species is normally seen in pairs or small parties and sometimes joins mixed-species foraging flocks. They forage from the ground to the canopy. They feed on insects mainly beetle larvae from under the bark, visit termite mounds and sometimes feed on nectar. As they make hopping movements around branches, they often conceal themselves from potential predators. They adapt well in human-modified habitats making use of artificial constructions fallen fruits and even food scraps.

The breeding season of woodpecker bird varies with weather and is between February and July. They frequently drum during the breeding season. The nest hole is usually excavated by the birds and has a horizontal entrance and descends into a cavity. Sometimes birds may usurp the nest holes of other birds. Nests have also been noted in mud embankments. The eggs are laid inside the unlined cavity. The normal clutch is three and the eggs are elongate and glossy white. The eggs hatch after about 11 days of incubation. The chicks leave the nest after about 20 days.

Author: Amitava Ray
I'm a photographer (1979) and a blogger (2006). My future photography and blogging endeavors are contingent on the success of Whizzed Net.