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Genus DENDROCOPUS, Koch, 1816
Bill wedge-shaped, upper mandible compressed towards the end; culmen
ungulate, straight or very slightly curved, nasal ridge commencing halfway
between culmen and commissure and extending more than half the length of the
bill; nostrils concealed by plumes, chin-angle similarly concealed; gonys
sharply ungulate; fourth (outer hind) toe longer than third (outer fore);
occiput slightly crested, more in some species than in others; wing rather
pointed, the primaries exceeding the secondaries by about the length of the
culmen. Upper plumage black and white, more or less in bars; lower plumage
white or fulvous, generally streaked brown or black. Crown and occiput wholly
or partly red in males, black or brown in females. A large genus and which
ranges over almost the whole of Europe, Asia, and North America. Ten species
occur within Indian limits.
Key to the Species
a. Middle tall-feathers entirely black, outer barred white
Dendrocopus himalayensis, Western Himalayan Pied Woodpecker
Coloration: Bill leaden grey; upper mandible blackish; irides red-brown. Legs and feet dark greenish brown. Kashmir birds are much paler beneath than those from other localities, and are often almost white below. A male skin in the Hume Collection from Kotgarh has the lower parts from the breast suffused with red.
Male. Nasal plumes black, white at base; forehead brownish white; crown and occiput crimson, the feathers dark grey at the base, then black and tipped with red; lores, a narrow supercilium, and the sides of the face and neck white, often fulvescent, and the ear-coverts in part black; a black band from the lower mandible down each side of the neck, joined to the nape a cross black band behind the ear-coverts; hind neck, back, scapulars, rump, and upper tail-coverts glossy black; wings and most of the wing-coverts black, the innermost median and greater coverts wholly or chiefly white, and the quills spotted with white on both webs, the spots forming interrupted bands; the four median tail-feathers black; the others banded fulvous white and black, and sometimes having the outer webs almost or entirely white; lower parts light brownish grey, sometimes almost white; the lower abdomen more fulvous; vent and lower tail-coverts pale crimson. In the female the crown and occiput are black, like the back.
Size: Length 9.5; tail 3.5; wing 5.2; tarsus 0.9; bill from gape 1.35
Distribution: The western Himalayas from Kumaon to Murree, also Gilgit to the north, and Kuram in Afghanistan to the west. This Woodpecker breeds according to Hume between 3000 and 8000 feet, but Jerdon found it common up to 10,000, Biddulph met with it between 9000 and 10,000 in Gilgit, and Stoliczka up to 11,000 in Chini.
Habits: Breeds from the middle of April to the end of May in holes in trees as usual, trunks of oaks being often selected. The eggs are 4 or 5 in number, glossy and white, and measure about 1 inch by 0.75.
This resembles D. himalayensis on the upper surface, except in having the crown of the male black and the crimson confined to the occiput. Below there is more difference. In the present species the black malar band is much broader, and continued to the side of the breast, the feathers of the breast between the ends of the black bands are tipped with red; the chin, throat, and breast are fulvous brown; abdomen and under tail-coverts crimson; edge of wing, under wing-coverts, and axillaries white. Bill dark plumbeous (Godw.-Aust.).
Size: Length 8; tail 3.4; wing 5; tarsus 0.95; bill from gape 1.3
Distribution: Throughout China; two male specimens were obtained by
Godwin-Austen at Gonglong in the Manipur hills. This Woodpecker appears not
to have been observed elsewhere within Indian limits.
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