Birds of Morni: Lesser Golden-backed Woodpecker

Lesser Golden-backed Woodpecker / Black-rumped Flameback (Dinopium benghalense) is a large wooodpecker (10- 12 inches)with prominent golden-yellow wing coverts, a black rump, a white head and a red crown and crest (black fore-crown with duller red rear-crown in females/ younger birds). The throat is black with white spots. Underparts are white.The bill is straight and pointed. A long sticky tongue that captures the insects from the excavated wood. The tail is stiff and black and the woodpecker rests it on the trunk using it as a prop for support. It is found in the plains and the Himalayas upto an elevation of 1200 metres. They feed on insects from under the bark. They are known to feed on nectar and visit termite mounds. The woodpecker draws the sap from the tree during excavation and also feeds on nuts.The bird drums/hammer during the breeding season.The eye has a special membrane that closes milliseconds before the contact during hammering to save the eye from flying debris.The nest hole is typically excavated and has a horizontal entry that descends into a cavity. The woodpecker is diurnal and roosts inside the hole at night. Eggs are laid inside this unlined cavity and hatching takes place after about 11 days and chicks leave the nest in another 10 days. The woodpecker typically moves in pairs and sometimes even in flocks with other insectivores.

Lesser Flameback excavating a banyan at Mandana


Golden yellow back of the Lesser Flameback at Mandana