Lesser Yellownape Woodpecker

Lesser Yellownape Woodpecker   Picus chlorolophus


  • Picus : Latin word for Woodpecker; Greek Mythology Picus, king of Latium, who married the beautiful nymph and songstress Canens and was changed into a woodpecker by the spiteful Circe, whose affections he had spurned
  • Chlorolophus : Greek word khloros- yellow; lophos –crest.

Vernacular Name: Guj: Lilo lakkad khod, Sinh: Konda kaha kerella, Hindi: Choti Pili Guddi Ka Kathfoda, Mar: Pivlya Manecha Sutar

Distribution in India: Resident of Himalayas and hills of India.

Description: Size of 25–28 cm; wt. of 57–83 g. The male has green ­forehead and crown bordered with red feather tips, golden-yellow or orangey on crest and hindneck; olive-green ear-coverts and neck side. It has a usually small area of white just behind upper corner of eye; upper lores are black, lower lores to below lower edge of ear-coverts are white and is streaked olive. It has a red malar stripe with some olive-green feather bases; olive to greyish chin and throat variably marked with white streaks or bars, throat pattern is variable, mainly whitish but can be all dark. It has green upperparts tinged with golden-yellow, rump is brighter; outer webs of secondaries and of inner primaries are rufous, edged green, rest of primaries and inner webs of secondaries are dark brown with white bar-like spots. The uppertail is blackish, outer feathers are washed green; lower throat and breast are grey-green to dark green, belly to undertail-coverts are off-white with slightly diffuse olive to olive-grey or brownish-olive chevrons.  The underwing is brownish, olive coverts that are barred whitish. It has a fairly long bill almost straight, chisel-tipped, broad across nostrils, blackish-grey, paler, yellower base at lower mandible. The iris is red-brown to dark red, orbital skin is greyish; legs are grey-green. The female is slightly smaller than male, lacks red in malar, has red at crown confined to small patch at rear sides. The juvenile is duller above, more barred on breast, with less red on crown than respective adult.

Habitat:  It is found in evergreen forest and moist deciduous forest, dry forest, woodland, bamboo, scrub, plantations, and well-wooded gardens. It is found from lowlands and foothills to 1400 m.

Food habits: It eats ants, Crematogaster, beetles and their larvae, berries and nectar. It forages singly, in pairs, or in small family groups; regularly joins mixed-species flocks, particularly with babblers, Drongos and other insectivores, or other woodpeckers. It forages in smaller trees, in undergrowth, often on fallen logs and dead trees. It usually prefers trunks and larger branches, but also moves along thin branches to reach arboreal nests of ants, or to probe at flowers. It forages commonly on ground, even seeks insects in dung pats. Gleaning and probing are the main foraging techniques. Excavating with pecking and hammering are techniques used rarely. Its movements are slow, except when accompanying other species. It can spend much time at a single site.

Breeding habits: They breed in Feb–July in India. They raise their Crest in display. The nest is excavated by both sexes in dead trunk or branch. They lay a clutch of 3–4 eggs .Both the sexes incubate, and both feed chicks, by regurgitation.