1353. Chrysophlegma flavinucha flavinucha

(1353) Chrysophlegma flavinucha flavinucha Gould.
The Large Yellow-naped Woodpecker.
Chrysophlegma flavinucha flavinucha, Fauna B. I., Birds, 2nd ed. vol. iv, p. 23.
This very handsome Woodpecker ranges through the Outer Himalayas from Mussoorie on the West to the extreme East and South of Assam, whence it extends throughout Burma about as far South as Moulmein. It is also by no means rare in the Shan States, but farther East is replaced by another race.
Whymper found it breeding near Naini Tal at about 4,500 feet and a little higher, while in the Naga Hills it has been recorded as breeding (Tytler) as high as 6,000 feet. This, I think, must be exceptional, as in the adjoining Cachar Hills, as well as in Manipur, it seldom breeds over 4,000 feet and is much more numerous between 2,000 and 3,000 feet, occuring right down to the plains. I wrote (Ibis, 1896, p. 351):—“Most nests are found in trees standing in rather thin forest with a good deal of undergrowth and such forests, practically evergreen, which border most of the smaller streams, are their favourite haunts during the breeding season. Although it does not often excavate its nest-hole at any great height from the ground, it does not, on the other hand, ever make it very low down. The majority of nests will be found between 10 and 15 feet up, the rest between 6 and 20. Again, it shows a marked preference for boring into the trunks of trees rather than into the larger limbs and brandies. The tunnels are seldom of any great depth, being often only a tew inches long.”
Since this was written I have seen many more nests, but have little to add. The entrance, which is between 2.1/2 and 3 inches wide, generally leads direct into the rotten heart of the tree where there is either already a natural hollow or touchwood which is easy to clear out. The entrance is frequently only 1 to 3 inches long.
The breeding season is principally March and April, but a few birds breed in May, and I have taken fresh eggs in the Khasia Hills as late as the 2nd June.
The normal clutch is three or four, but I have taken two eggs much incubated and have seen two young in a nest-hole, while I have also seen one or two clutches of five eggs.
Forty eggs average 28.8 x 22.2 mm. : maxima 31.8 x 24.0 and 29.0 x 24.4 mm. ; minima 26.4 x 21.4 and 29.0 x 22.0 mm.
The breeding display of this Woodpecker is very interesting and, perhaps, rather unusual. Like others of the family, they probably pair for life, but when the breeding season approaches they get very restless—even for Woodpeckers—and continually chase one another with a little squeaking cry. Finally, clinging to some tree, the female crouches close to the bark, and then the male, alighting higher up on the trunk, approaches her backwards, his head thrown right over his rump with beak held up and crest widely expanded. After getting within a few inches of her he sidles across to the other side and repeats the performance, all the time the hen bird squeaking and shivering with excitement until, after a few repetitions of the male’s display, the two meet.
The male does most of the diurnal incubation, both birds occupying the nest-chamber at night. He also does most of the work of excavation.

The Nidification Of Birds Of The Indian Empire
Baker, Edward Charles Stuart. The nidification of birds of the Indian Empire. Vol. 3. 1934.
Title in Book: 
1353. Chrysophlegma flavinucha flavinucha
Spp Author: 
Book Author: 
Edward Charles Stuart Baker
Page No: 
Common name: 
Large Yellow Naped Woodpecker
Chrysophlegma flavinucha flavinucha
Vol. 3

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