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Genus LIOPICUS, Bonaparte, 1854
This genus closely resembles Dendrocopus but has a more rounded wing, the primaries exceeding the secondaries by less than the length of the culmen. A small occipital crest is present. The upper plumage is black, spotted not barred with white.
Only one species is known, and this is peculiar, or nearly so, to the Indian area.
Coloration: Bill clear plumbeous, darker on the culmen and tip of both mandibles; irides deep red; legs and feet bright plumbeous; claws horny blue (Oates).
Male: Nasal plumes, forehead, and occiput pale brownish yellow, occiput scarlet, sides of face and neck white, ear-coverts with a brownish tinge; nape and hind neck smoky brown; back and scapulars brownish black and white mixed, not in bars nor distinct spots; greater and median coverts black with large white spots; smaller coverts black; rump and upper tail coverts white, the feathers with broad dark shaft-stripes, which are generally concealed on the former but not on the latter; quills and tail-feathers spotted white on both webs, the spots on the latter white above, fulvescent below, and sometimes forming bars on the outer tail-feathers; chin, throat, and fore neck white; no malar band, but a broad brown stripe runs from beneath the ear coverts on each side to the side of the breast and then breaks up into brown longitudinal streaks; breast, flanks, and under tail coverts streaked with brown; middle of abdomen bright scarlet.
Female: Whole forehead, crown, and occiput are pale dull brownish yellow.
Size: Length 7; tail 2.6; wing 4; tarsus 0.8; bill from gape 1 to 1.2. The bill is generally shorter in females.
Distribution: Generally spread, but only common locally, through out the peninsula of India and northern Ceylon from the sea-level to about 2500 feet, or higher in places, and found at low elevations in the valleys of the western Himalayas, but only out side the base of the Eastern. Rare in the western Punjab, Sind, and Rajputana; not found in southern Ceylon, lower or eastern Bengal, Assam, Cachar, or Arrakan, but reappearing in the dry parts of upper Burma, being common about Thayet Myo and farther north, and at Toungngoo. Also obtained in Cochin China.
Habits: This is chiefly an inhabitant of low jungle and scrub, not of thick forest. It is often seen on Palas (Butea frondosa), and on species of Acacia and Euphorbia. It breeds in February, March, and April, and lays usually three white eggs measuring about 0.87 by 0.68. The nest is the usual hole, generally in a dead trunk or branch.
The variety called P. Blanfordi by Blyth inhabits upper Burma, and has
the white markings of the upper plumage more developed, especially on the
wings and tail, Similar birds are found in North-western India.
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