Rufous woodpecker

Rufous woodpecker
Celeus brachyurus

Photo by P.J. Vasanthan (Internet Bird Collection)

Common name:
rufous woodpecker (en); pica-pau-castanho (pt); pic brun (fr); carpintero rufo (es); rötelspecht (de)

Order Piciformes
Family Picidae

This species is found in south-eastern Asia, from India and Nepal to south-eastern China and south to the Indonesian islands of Java, Sumatra and Borneo.

These birds are 21-25 cm long and weigh 55-115 g.

The rufous woodpecker is mostly found in primary rainforests and moist tropical scrublands, but also second growths, dry tropical forests, mangroves, palm groves and rural gardens. They are present from sea level up to an altitude of 1.750 m.

They hunt insects by gleaning and hammering, mainly taking ants, especially Crematogaster sp. and Phydole sp., but also termites and other small insects. They are also known to eat figs and other fruits, and nectar.

Rufous woodpeckers breed in February-May. They nest in a cavity excavated by both sexes, either on a tree trunk or on an arboreal ant nest, typically 3-15 m above the ground. The female lays 2-3 white eggs which are incubated by both parents for 12-14 days. The chicks are fed by both parents but there is no information regarding the length of the fledgling period.

IUCN status – LC (Least Concern)
This species has a very large breeding range and is reported to be locally common to uncommon. The population is suspected to be in decline owing to ongoing habitat destruction.

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