Fauna of India (Birds)  vol iii 1895 - by W. T. Blanford

Page 27
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Genus THRIPONAX, Cab. & Heine, 1863

This genus is structurally very similar to Hemi except that it has a well-marked nuchal crest, and that the feathers of the head are of the ordinary texture. The bill is not quite so long as in Hemilophus, and the nasal ridge is farther from the culmen, though still nearer to it, at the base of the bill, than to the commissure. The plumage in Thriponax is chiefly black, in most species with some white on the body; the cap and a malar patch are red in males, in females of all Indian species the occiput and nape retain the red colour.

The genus occurs in Malabar, throughout Burma and the Malay countries, in the Philippines, and Korea. There are four Indian species.

Key to the Species
a. Rump white.
   a’. Primaries black throughout, or nearly so   ..... T. hodgsoni
   b’. Basal half of inner webs of primaries white  .... T. feddeni
b. Rump black.
   c’. Abdomen white                                      .... T. javensis
   d’. No white in plumage                                 .... T. hodgii

Fig.19 - head of T. hodgsoni

Thriponax hodgsoniMalabar Great Black Woodpecker

Hemilophus hodgsonii, Jerdon, Madr. Jour. xi, p.215, pl. ii (1840); Blyth, Cat. p.55
Picus hodgsonii, Jerdon, Ill. ind. Orn. pl. v.
Mulleripicus hodgsoni, Jerdon, B.I.i. p.284
Thriponax hodgsoni, Hume, S.F.iii, p.67; Id. Cat.no. 169; Hume & Bourdillon, S.F.iv, p.390; Butler, S.F.ix, p.386; Davison, S.F.x, p.355; McGregor, ibid. p.437; Hargitt, Ibis, 1885, p.150; id, Cat. B.M. xviii, p.503; Barnes, Birds Bom. p.116; Davidson Jour. Bomb. N.H. Soc. vi, p.335
Great Black Woodpecker, Jerdon.

Coloration: Bill black; irides crimson; legs dark plumbeous (Jerdon). Male. Forehead, crown, nape, and large malar patch on each side crimson. Lower back and rump, lower breast stud upper part of abdomen, flanks, axillaries, and basal portion (1-1.15 inches long) of inner webs of secondaries buffy white; remainder of plumage black. Female. The crimson is confined to the occiput and nape, all the remainder of the head black.

Size: Length of males about 19, of females 17.5;  tail 7;  wing 8.5;  tarsus 1.5;  bill from gape 2.6

Distribution: Forests near the Malabar coast up to an elevation of about 3000 feet or rather higher, from Travancore to west of Belgaum (16° N. lat.). Not recorded farther north.

Habits: A shy bird, not noisy, usually found in pairs, some times in parties of three to six. It keeps generally to evergreen forest and has a loud, not unpleasant, call-note. The eggs are not known with certainty, and Davidson thinks it lays one only, as he never saw more than three birds together.

Thriponax feddeniBurmese Great Black Woodpecker

Mulleripicus feddeni, Blanford, Blyth, J.A.S.B. xxxii, p.75 (1863)
Thriponax jerdoni, Cab. Hems, Mus. Hem. iv (2), p.105 (1863)
Hemilophus feddeni, Blanf. Ibis, 1870, p.464
Thriponax feddeni, Walden, Ibis, 1871, p.164; Bingham, S.F.viii, p.194; ix, p.162; Hume, S.F. viii, p.409; Oates, B.B ii, p.28; Hargitt Ibis, 1885, p.152; id. Cat. B.M. xviii, p.504; Salvadori, Ann. Mus, Civ. Gen. (2) iv, p.578
Thriponax crawfurdi, apud Hume, S.F.iii, p.66; Blyth & Wald. Birds Burm. p.75; Hume & Dav. S.F. vi, p.134; Hume, Cat.no. 169 ter, nec Picus crawfurdii, Gray*

Coloration: Very similar to that of T. hodgsoni but distinguished by the much larger extent of the white or creamy-white area on the lower parts, where the white extends from the middle breast to the vent inclusive, on the rump where it sometimes extends to the tail-coverts, and especially inside the wings, the basal half or nearly half of the inner webs of all quills being white; some of the outer primaries generally white-tipped; some white mixed with the black on the sides of the head, and on the chin and throat. Sexual distinctions as in T. hodgsoni.

Bill slaty; irides yellow; legs and feet plumbeous; claws horny (Bingham).

Size: Length about 16;  tail 6;  wing 8.5;  tarsus 1.4;  bill from gape 2.2;  the female as large as the male.

Distribution: Throughout the greater part of Burma from Bhamo in the north to the hills east of Moulmein (Kokarit). This bird has also been sent from Siam and Cochin China.

Habits: A forest-bird found also in clearings, and generally observed in pairs on saplings and small trees. According to Captain Feilden and Mr. Davison the flight is peculiar and noiseless - the blows given by the bill when tapping are loud but slow, not quickly repeated like those of Brachypternus, Chrysocolaptes, and Hemilophus. The call is not loud but is characteristic, somewhat resembling a Jackdaw’s. The nidification has not been observed.

* Picus crawfurdii was described in 1829 by Dr. J. E. Gray (Griffith’s Cuv. An. King., Birds, ii. p.513, fig.) from a colored drawing made by a native artist for Mr. Crawfurd, by whom the drawing was brought to England. No specimen of the bird has ever been examined by a naturalist, and as in many similar cases, where names have been given to figures, it has proved impossible to recognize the species. The following description was taken by Dr. Gray from the drawing: “The whole upper part (except the crest) is deep dark brown, sprinkled with grey on the sides of the neck; across the breast is a large lunule patch of slate-colour with small dark waves; the belly is yellow, with the like crescent-shaped spot and the crest is deep red.”

It should be added that in the figure the crown (not the forehead) is red, and there is no red malar patch. The black rump distinguishes the figure from T. feddeni. I strongly suspect the drawing to have been an inaccurate representation of a female T. javensis. Mr. Crawfurd, however, resided for a considerable time in Ava, where T. feddeni occurs.

Thriponax javensisMalay Black Woodpecker

Picus javensis, Horsfield, Trans. Linn. Soc. xiii, p.175 (1821)
Picus leucogaster, Valenc. Dict. Sc. Nat. xl, p.178 (1826)
Hemilophus javensis, Blyth, Cat. p.55
Mulleripicus javensis, Horsf. & M.Cat. ii, p.652
Thriponax javensis, Blyth, Birds Burm. p.75; Hume, S.F.iii, p.310; id. Cat.no. 169 quat.; Hume & Dav. S.F.vi, p.135; Oates, B.B.ii, p.27; Hargitt, Ibis, 1885, p.145; id. Cat. B.M. xv p.498

Coloration: Bill black, lower mandible plumbeous; iris creamy white or yellow; orbital skin dark plumbeous; legs and feet pale plumbeous (Davison). Male. Forehead, crown, nape, and a large malar patch crimson. Lower breast, abdomen, flanks, axillaries, and the inner webs near the base of some of the quills, chiefly secondaries, creamy white; all the rest of the plumage black, small white streaks intermixed on sides of neck behind ear-coverts, and on chin and throat; sometimes a white tip to each of the outer primaries. In the female the crimson is confined to the occiput and nape.

Size: Length about 17;  tail 7;  wing 9;  tarsus 1.4;  bill from gape 2.4.

Distribution: The Malay peninsula, ranging into the extreme south of Tenasserim, also Sumatra, Java, Borneo, and several of the Philippine Islands.

Habits: Similar to those of T. feddeni.

Thriponax hodgiiAndaman Black Woodpecker

Mulleripicus hodgei, Blyth, J.A.S.B. xxix, p.105 (1860); Beavan, Ibis, 1867, p.320; Ball, J.A.S.B. xxxix, pt.2, p.241; xli, pt.2, p.279; id. S.F.i, p.63
Thriponax hodgei, Walden, Ibis, 1873, p.301; Hume, S.F.ii, p.189; id. Cat.no. 169 bis; Hargitt, Ibis 1885, p.142; id. Cat. B.M. xv p.502

Coloration: The forehead, crown, nape, and malar patch crimson in the male, occiput and nape only in the female, all the rest of the plumage black. Bill black, in some specimens, not in all, whitish and semi transparent at the tip; irides pale yellow; legs, feet, and claws blackish plumbeous (Hume).

Size: Length about 15;  tail 6;  wing 7.5;  tarsus 1.3;  bill from gape 1.9

Distribution: The Andaman Islands.

Habits: This Woodpecker is said by Davison to keep to the larger trees, to have a shrill rasping whistle, and to make a great noise tapping. He shot the young well grown at the end of March.

Picus or Dryocopus martius was at one time believed by Hume to inhabit part of the Khirthar range, Sind. I have been all over the range, which is very barren and treeless, and there I no part suited for this bird; moreover I ascertained when in Sind that the native story told to Mr. Hume about the occurrence of a black Woodpecker (S.F.i, pp.129, 171) at Dharyaro was a hoax.

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