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Genus HYPOPICUS, Bonap. 1854
Bill slender, compressed, truncated; culmen straight, angulate; nasal ridge strongly marked, but low down near the commissure and not extending more than halfway along the bill; nostrils basal, nasal plumes short; gonys long, chin-angle near to the gape, much concealed by bristles; fourth (outer posterior) toe slightly longer than third (outer anterior). Head scarcely crested. Outer pair of tail-feathers shorter than coverts. Plumage soft, black and white above, chestnut below; crown of head red in males, black spotted with white in females. Only two species are known, one inhabits the Himalayas, the other northern China.
Coloration: Bill black above, whitish beneath; legs plumbeous (Jerdon); Bill pale yellow beneath (Godwin-Austen). Male. Nasal plumes black, white at the base. Base of forehead, sides of face, and chin grey (mixed black and white). Lores, a stripe below the eye and a spot above and behind the eye pure white. Crown and nape crimson. Upper plumage from neck to rump broadly barred black and white; quills black, spotted on both webs and tipped with white, inner webs of primaries unspotted near the tips. Four middle tail-feathers black, the next pair black with fulvous-white spots on the outer webs; the two outer large feathers on each side barred black and fulvous white; sides of neck and lower parts from throat bright chestnut. Vent and lower tail-coverts light crimson; thigh-coverts and under wing-coverts banded black and white; axillaries white.
Female. The crown and nape black, spotted with white. In young birds there are bars on the lower plumage.
Size: Length 8; tail 3.5; wing 5; tarsus 0.85; bill from gape 1
Distribution: Throughout the Himalayas from Murree to Sikkim and probably to eastern Tibet, also in the Khasi, Naga, and Manipur hills, at 4000 to 5000 feet elevation. This bird has been obtained in Cochin China, but not in Burma. It ranges to a considerable elevation on the Himalayas, and is the commonest Woodpecker in the pine-forests of Sikkim, at 9000-12,000 feet above the sea.
Habits: The nest has been observed by Col. C. H. T. Marshall at
Murree, and the eggs taken towards latter end of April. The nests were mere holes in trees, and the eggs, deposited on the bare wood, were
regular ovals, pure white, measuring about 0.87 by 0.67.
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