It makes me very excited when the woodpeckers make an appearance among those small trees in front of our house. I have mostly seen them as a pair along with other birds in mixed hunting flocks. When the loud call of Drongos and Bulbuls reaches me, I rush into the garden and hide myself amidst green. Sitting there under the green canopy, witnessing the conspicuously colourful birds hopping among the branches and listening to their mellifluous songs will be my most favorite part of the day. Its always a bunch of surprises, adding new species every now and then to my list.

You may also like : Backyard Birds of Western Ghats Part 1- Bulbuls

Black-rumped Flameback ( ಹೊಂಬೆನ್ನಿನ ಮರಕುಟಿಕ ) :

Lesser Flameback Male
Lesser Flameback Female (PC : Ganesh Hegde Geral )
A Woodpecker Couple ( PC :Ganesh Hegde Geral )

One of the common visitors to our backyard is the Lesser Flameback. Golden yellow wings, red crown, whitish underparts with black lines are the prominents colours of this bird. It has a black rump, by which it has got the name Black-rumped Flameback. Male and female birds are not identical. Male bird has prominent red crest where as the female has black spotted forecrown with red feathers appearing only at the rear end.

Greater Flameback ( ದೊಡ್ಡ ಹೊಂಬೆನ್ನಿನ ಮರಕುಟಿಕ ) :

Greater Flameback Male
Greater Flameback Female

Commonly known as Greater Goldenback or Flameback Woodpeckers are large brightly colored woodpeckers. Differs slightly from the Lesser Flameback, with golden brown wings, a prominent red rump and dark moustachial stripes. During the monsoon month of July I was at home and it was raining continuously without letting me to step out. I pulled a chair and sat at the veranda waiting for the flying passerby. As soon as downpour turned into drizzle giving way for the sunshine, the birds barged into open space with loud happy calls. I got very lucky to spot the Greater Flameback pair landing on a pole to dry their wings. Sun light illuminated their colour creating a perfect photo opportunity.

Lesser Yellownape ( ಹಳದಿ ಹಿಂಗತ್ತಿನ ಮರಕುಟಿಕ ) :

Lesser Yellownape Male
Lesser Yellownape Female (PC : Ganesh Hegde Geral )

A medium sized woodpecker with green body and whitish belly parts. The bright yellow nape and the red shades on the face and crest make it very adorable. Male bird has red crown and a red line near the beak where as female has only the red crest and lacks the red patch near the eye. I have seen them in pairs among the mixed hunting parties.

Heart-spotted Woodpecker ( ಚುಕ್ಕೆ ಮರಕುಟಿಕ ) :

Heart-spotted Woodpecker Male (PC : Ganesh Hegde Geral )
Heart-spotted Woodpecker Female (PC : Ganesh Hegde Geral )

As the name indicates Heart-spotted woodpeckers have hearts shaped spots on their wings. They are usually found in pairs and sometimes visit small plants for insects. Male and female birds are easily identifiable with the colour difference on their forehead.

Rufous Woodpecker ( ಕಂದು ಮರಕುಟಿಕ ) :

Rufous Woodpecker Male (PC : Ganesh Hegde Geral )

A woodpecker species that is mostly found foraging for ant colonies. This is a brown bird with black bars on its body, mainly feeds on Crematogaster ant species.  These ant nests are plentiful around our house which makes a scrumptious meal for this Rufous Woodpecker. Male differs from female by having a small red patch under the eye.

White-bellied Woodpecker ( ಹೆಮ್ಮರಕುಟಿಕ ) :

White-bellied Woodpecker Male(PC : Ganesh Hegde Geral )
White-bellied Woodpecker Female

White-bellied Woodpeckers are the occasional guests of our home and obviously more honourable ones. This is a large woodpecker species with body size of 40 to 48 cm. Black Body with white belly along with red crown are common features of this beauty while the male differs from female by its red malar stripe. I got a chance to see one of its close relative, Black Woodpecker in Sweden.

PS: Thanks to Ganesh Hegde for the beautiful pictures he shared with us.

You may also like : Birdwatching in Store Mosse National Park, Sweden

Other birding related posts are here :

Birdwatching in Kiskunsag National Park, Hungary

Skagen sojourn : Birdwatching at the top of Denmark

Bohemian Waxwing : A Winter Visitor to Gothenburg

Birding in Donana National Park, Spain

3 Replies to “Backyard Birds of Western Ghats Part 2 – Woodpeckers

  1. Ganesh, Wow on the quality of the photograph and sightings. Are these your backyard birds. Looks like you walk a long path to find them. The descriptions too are great. Would enjoy birding with you sometime. Exciting trails.

  2. Ganesh, Wow on the quality of the photograph and sightings. Are these your backyard birds. Looks like you walk a long path to find them. The descriptions too are great. Would enjoy birding with you sometime. Exciting trails.

  3. Ganesh, Wow on the quality of the photograph and sightings. Are these your backyard birds. Looks like you walk a long path to find them. The descriptions too are great. Would enjoy birding with you sometime. Exciting location and description. and to sight all 4 in one location

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