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Genus IYNGIPICUS, Bonaparte, 1854
This is but little more than a small form of Dendrocopus, distinguished by a rather more pointed wing and a shorter tail. The primaries greatly exceed the secondaries in length; the first primary is quite small, and the second is only exceeded in length by the third, fourth, and fifth, which are subequal. The coloration above is black or brown, with white cross-bars; beneath brownish white with, almost always, longitudinal brown or black streaks. Iyngipicus ranges throughout the Oriental region, and one species is found in Africa. Five closely allied species or geographical races are found within Indian limits.
a. Upper tail-coverts and median rectrices entirely black
lyngipicus semicoronatus Darjeeling Pigmy Woodpecker
Coloration: Male. Forehead and crown ashy with a brownish tinge, occiput scarlet (feathers slightly elongated); nasal plumes and lores fulvescent white; broad superciliary stripe extending back to the side of the neck white, speckled with black, a black line forming a border to the crown above the supercilium, and a brown baud, becoming black behind, from the eye to the side of the neck over the lower ear-coverts; nape and upper back and the upper tail-coverts velvety black; remainder of back, rump, scapulars, and wings black with white transverse bars; quills with white spots on both webs, greater and median coverts with white spots or bars, smaller coverts unspotted; the two middle pairs of tail-feathers black throughout as a rule, the two outer large pairs black barred with white above and with fulvescent below, third pair from the middle varying but generally bordered with white; malar region dusky, chin and throat whitish; under surface from throat very light fulvescent brown, with narrow blackish longitudinal streaks; under wing-coverts and axillaries mixed white and black.
The female has no occipital red band.
Occasionally there are white markings on the upper tail-coverts and small white spots on the median tail-feathers, but this is exceptional. The same occurs in other species of Iyngipicus, in which the feathers mentioned are normally black throughout.
Bill plumbeous; irides red; feet brown (Jerdon).
Size: Length 5.5; tail 2; wing 3.3; tarsus 0.6; bill from gape 0.65.
Distribution: Sikkim, Bhutan, the Khasi and Naga hills, eastern Manipur, and Yunnan at elevations above 3500 feet.
The only important distinction from I. semicoronatus is that in the male of the present species there is no red band across the occiput, but merely a few scarlet feathers forming a short, very narrow, longitudinal stripe bordering the occiput on each side There is no constant difference in the females, but as a rule the dimensions of I. pygmaeus are rather larger, and the white bands and spots on the upper surface are more developed.
Bill grey horny; irides dark red; feet dingy green (Scully).
Size: Length 5.6; tail 2.1; wing 3.5; tarsus 0.65; bill from gape 0.7.
Distribution: Forests of the base and lower valleys of the western Himalayas from around Kathmandu in Nepal to Mussoorie.
Habits: According to Mr. R Thompson this Pigmy Woodpecker breeds in the dense forest districts of the bhabar and lower valleys of Kumaon in April and May, laying 4 or 5 eggs. The birds migrate into cultivated districts in winter.
Precisely like I. pygmaeus except that the upper tail-coverts are banded and fringed with white, and that as a rule all the tail-feathers are spotted or banded with white above and fulvous below; sometimes, however, the two median pairs are unspotted. The lower parts in general are paler in tint in I. canicapillus, the streak behind the eye darker brown and broader, but these distinctions cannot be depended on. Two red streaks border the occiput, one on each side, in males, as in I. pygmaeus.
Upper mandible horny brown, lower plumbeous; irides red-brown; legs, feet, and claws plumbeous (Davison).
Size: Length 5.5; tail 1.8; wing 3.25; tarsus 0.6; bill from gape 0.75.
Distribution: Throughout Burma, ranging north to Tipperah, Cachar, and Manipur, and probably to the ranges south of the Assam valley, and extending to the south throughout the Malay peninsula, from the sea-level to about 5000 feet elevation.
Habits: Brushwood, low or thin tree-jungle, groves in cultivation, or old clearings are the usual haunts of this bird, which is often seen on the smaller branches of trees. It is but seldom met with in thick jungle or on bamboos. The nest has not been observed.
I cannot separate from the present species I. pumilus which is said to be distinguished by smaller size and by having the four middle tail-feathers without spots. Many specimens of I. canicapillus have unspotted or almost unspotted median rectrices, and I find that the wings of seven specimens in the British Museum marked as adults of I. pumilus from Pegu and Tenasserim, measure from 3 to 3.15 inches, which is well within the limits of variation for I. canicapillus, as may be seen by Hume’s measurements (S.F. vi, p.126).
Coloration: Male. Forehead and crown light umber-brown, nape darker; no dark border at the side of the crown but a narrow scarlet streak on each side of the occiput; lores and some of the nasal plumes brownish white; a white stripe from above the eye to the side of the neck; a broad umber-brown band from the eye over the ear-coverts, and a second white stripe beneath the brown band, upper parts from nape dark brown with white cross-bands, rump and upper tail-coverts mostly white; quills, greater and median coverts with white spots, smaller coverts unspotted; all tail-feathers with spots on both webs white above, fulvous below; malar region and chin grey, the feathers tipped white but the ashy bases showing. Remainder of lower parts brownish white with brown longitudinal streaks. The female wants the occipital scarlet streaks.
Bill and legs plumbeous; orbital skin lake; irides pale yellow (Jerdon).
Size: Length 5; tail 1.7; wing 3; tarsus 0.55; bill from gape 0.65.
Distribution: The greater part of the Indian Peninsula, from the base of the N.W. Himalayas to Mysore, and from Mount Abu to Chhota Nagpur, wanting in the open plains of Rajputana, the Deccan, etc., The Southern forms from the Western Ghats near Belgaum and from Mysore have darker heads, and thus show a passage towards I. gymnophthalmus.
Habits: This Woodpecker is found chiefly in forest, but also in groves and gardens in well-wooded districts, and is frequently seen in parties of three or four, on the stems and branches of trees, generally climbing, but sometimes, as Jerdon observes, perching, and hopping from bough to bough. It breeds in the N.W. Provinces in March; its nest-hole has been several times recorded in a dead branch of a mango-tree, also in siris (Acacia catechu), and the eggs, usually 3 or 4 in number, are white and somewhat spherical, and measure about 0.7 by 0.52.
Coloration: Very similar to that of I. hardwickii, but much darker above and almost or quite streakless beneath in adults. Head above and stripe behind eye blackish sepia-brown. Upper parts dark brown with white cross-bars. Long supercilium extending to neck, cheeks below eye-stripe, chin, and throat white. No malar stripe; lower parts unstriped, sullied white in adults, and faintly streaked in the young. Flanks generally streaked in all, and lower tail-coverts with dark shaft-stripes. There are the usual scarlet occipital stripes in males; the white spots are often small and sometimes wanting on the outer webs of the primaries.
Bill brownish olivaceous, somewhat paler beneath; iris white, greyish white, yellowish white, or reddish white; eyelid and orbital skin dull mauve or purplish; legs and feet greenish plumbeous (Legge).
Size: Length 4.8; tail 1.6; wing 2.9; tarsus 0.55; bill from gape 0.65.
Distribution: Throughout Ceylon up to about 3000 feet above the sea, also the Malabar coast and the ranges near it as far north as the Palni hills, and perhaps farther. Malabar specimens have the heads rather paler than Ceylonese, and are the race called I. peninsularis by Hargitt, and the specimens thus labeled by him in the British Museum include the Malabar skins of I. gymnophthalmus and the Belgaum and Mysore specimens already mentioned of I. hardwickii. There is evidently in this, as in many similar cases, a passage between two well-marked forms.
Habits: Similar to those of other Iyngipici. This bird is thoroughly arboreal and frequents the uppermost branches of trees, picking up small insects, and often perching. It has considerable powers of flight, and its note, according to Legge, is a prolonged trill. It breeds in February and March, and also in July, nesting in holes in small branches, and the white eggs measure about 0.62 by 0.53.
Coloration: Crown and eye-stripe dark brown, nape very dark; supercilium extending to neck and a band below the eye-stripe white. Upper parts dark brown with white cross-bands; all tail-feathers spotted, the spots on the outer webs of the primaries small. Chin and throat pure white, bordered on each side by a brown malar stripe; rest of lower parts sullied white with indistinct rather broad brown streaks. Male with, as usual, a red streak on each side of the occiput.
Size: wing 3.05; tail 1.6; tarsus 0.65; bill from gape 0.7
Distribution: Three specimens collected by Captain Stackhouse Pinwill,
one at Dharamshala, the other two in north-west India, are in the British
Museum, and are referred by Hargitt to be Vigor's species, which was said to
be from north west Himalayas, and with the description of which they agree
fairly. At the same time they are, as Hargitt points out, only just separable
from the Malay I. auritus, and it is difficult to believe that all the
ornithologists who have ransacked the north-west Himalayas of the late years
can have overlooked this bird, which is easily distinguished from I. pygmaeus and I. hardwickii if it inhabits the area.
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