White-bellied Woodpecker

White-bellied Woodpecker  Dryocopus javenis


  • Dryocopus :  Greek word drus- tree ;  kopos – beating
  • Javenis : From Java island in Indonesia

Vernacular Names:  M.P: Bhainsakhidree, Guj: Moto kalolakkad khod, Mal: Kakkamaramkotti, Kan: Marakuttiga, Mar: MothaKrushnasutar, Pandhrya Potacha Sutar

Distribution in India:Resident of Western Ghats and Eastern Ghatsin India.

Description: Size of 40–48 cm; wt. of 197–347 g. It is a large woodpecker. The male has deep red forehead to nape and crest, fairly broad red malar stripe; black on rest of head, entire upperparts, wings and tail, and chin to lower breast, white streaks on ear-coverts at rear, neck side and chin to throat. The primaries are tipped white when fresh, small patch of cream-white at bases of inner webs. The belly is creamy, narrow creamy bars on lower breast side, black bars on flanks and ventral area and black undertail-coverts. The under­wing is grey-black, coverts are creamy, black carpal patch; undertail is greyish. It has a long bill that is broad-based, chisel-tipped, culmen curved and black to grey-black, sometimes pale greenish lower mandible. The iris is yellow, orbital skin is grey; legs are dark grey or blue-grey. The female is slightly less bulky than male. It has black forehead and forecrown, malar area is black with white streaking. The juvenile is duller, browner, throat paler, often trace of white on rump, eyes are grey, male has red forehead and crown mottled with black and white, only little red in malar.

Habitat: It is found in evergreen and deciduous forest, primary forest, forest edge, dry dipterocarp forest, mixed bamboo stands, light secondary forest with large trees and wet primary forest with many dead and rotting trees it is found in lowlands to 1200 m in India.

Food habits: It eats large ants and their brood, termites, beetles and their wood-boring larvae, honey bees and fruits .It stays solitary or in pairs, and small groups. It forages from lower to upper strata, in tall trees, on small dead stubs, on fallen timber, and on ground, searching among the litter. It pecks and hammers, and commonly strips bark and probes and pries off pieces of bark and wood. It removes large pieces of bark before digging big pits into the wood. It will spend long time at a single favoured feeding site.

Breeding habits: They breed in Jan–Mar in India, Feb–May in Myanmar, Mar to May in Korea, Dec–Mar in Peninsular Malaysia, Mar–Apr on Borneo, Apr–May and Aug–Sept in Greater Sundas, and Mar–May in Philippines. The nest-hole is excavated by both sexes up in tall stump or tall old or half-dead tree. The male demonstrates intended nest with long series of regular taps. They lay a clutch of 3-4 eggs. Both the parents incubatewith male taking over in late evening. The incubation period is 14 days.Both parents feed chicks, by regurgitation, female feeding more than male. The nestlings fledge in 26 days.