Sunday, November 8, 2009

Black-rumped Flameback

 A Black-rumped Flameback photographed in Colombo, Sri Lanka

More images of this woodpecker can be found at

Out of all the birds found in Sri Lanka, the Black-rumped Flameback is one of my favorites. It is also one of the most familiar birds found on the island. More details inside.

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The Black-rumped flameback (also known as the red backed woodpecker) is an unobtrusive bird which frequents residential areas. However, its call, which rises and then falls in pitch and accelerates, may give away its presence. The red back and the black and white head and neck are distinctive and can only be confused with the Greater Flameback. The Greater Flameback has an Ivory coloured beak and does not have the two white stripes around the eye. The Black-rumped Flameback has a black throat while the Greater Flameback's throat is white. The Black-rumped Flameback, like all other woodpeckers, has a stiff tail which it uses to support itself against tree trunks. It also has zygodactil feet with two toes pointed forward and two pointed backward. It is a large species measuring in at 26-29cm in length and uses its long tongue to feed on insects.

A pair of Black-rumped Flamebacks frequents our garden in the heart of Colombo. We've had regular visits from these birds for years. The image above was taken from a bed room window at home. I was able to spend around 40 minutes photographing these birds as they hopped along the branches foraging for food just 20 meters away from where I was.

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