1394. Brachypternus benghalensis benghalensis

(1394) Brachypternus benghalensis benghalensis Linn.
THE NORTHERN GOLDEN-BACKED WOODPECKER.
Brachypternus benghalensis benghalensis, Fauna B. I., Birds, 2nd ed. vol. iv, p. 67.
This beautiful Woodpecker is found over a very large extent of country stretching from the foot-hills of the Himalayas in Kuman on the West to Assam and Manipur on the East : South to Khandesh in the Bombay Presidency, the Central Provinces and South Orissa. In Sind and the North-West Frontier it is replaced by dilutus, while Western Punjab birds are somewhat intermediate.
If we except the driest, almost treeless areas which occur in parts of the country otherwise inhabited by this Woodpecker, and also the deep humid woods of other districts, there are few places where this Woodpecker is not a common bird. It frequents gardens, avenues, orchards, the trees around and in villages and also all kinds of thin deciduous forest, bamboo-jungle and scrub, if the latter has a few trees for breeding purposes. In the Himalayas they ascend to 2,500 feet and, more rarely, up to about 3,500 feet. The birds seem to breed in almost any kind of tree and at almost any height from the ground, though they certainly prefer Mango-trees to any other, while, as a rule, they drill their nest-holes in trees at heights between 5 and 15 feet. On the other hand, Whymper took three eggs in the Kuman Terai from a Bombax-tree “at a great height from the ground,” while I myself have taken others 2 and 3 feet from it.
The nest-holes are generally cut into big branches or into a trunk of a tree which is partially decayed ; the entrance is a big one for the size of the bird—Hume says from 2.1/2 to 3.1/2 inches in diameter— but most of those I have seen have been 3 inches or more, and I have seen them up to 4.1/2 inches. The tunnel may be anything from a few inches to 3 feet, according to the condition of the wood inside the tree selected but, if in sound wood, is seldom more than a few inches long. In the same way the cavity may vary from about 6 inches either way to a natural hollow of almost any size. I have never seen a natural entrance used by this Woodpecker, but Hume says that "sometimes a natural hollow is used and only rounded off internally.”
In the hills the laying season seems to be well defined and restricted to a, period from the last week in April to the last week in June. In the plains, however, there are two definite seasons, the first from the end of February to April and again, after the rains break, in June and July.
All Hume’s correspondents agreed in thinking three to be the full number of eggs in a normal clutch. At the same time, I have taken or received clutches of four or five eggs from Gunjong, Dacca and Nadia (myself) ; Bihar (Inglis, Coltart, Harvey) ; Lahore (Lindsey Smith) ; Lucknow (Jesse) ; Kuman Terai (Whymper) and so on.
Fifty eggs average 28.1 x 20.9 mm. : maxima 30.6 x 19.0 and 29.6 x 23.0 mm. ; minima 26.0 x 20.6 and 27.5 x 18.9 mm.
Both sexes incubate and both take a share in the work of drilling the nest-hole.

BookTitle: 
The Nidification Of Birds Of The Indian Empire
Reference: 
Baker, Edward Charles Stuart. The nidification of birds of the Indian Empire. Vol. 3. 1934.
Title in Book: 
1394. Brachypternus benghalensis benghalensis
Spp Author: 
Linn.
Book Author: 
Edward Charles Stuart Baker
CatNo: 
1394
Year: 
1934
Page No: 
304
Common name: 
Norrn Golden Backed Woodpecker
M_ID: 
11108
M_SN: 
Dinopium benghalense benghalense
Volume: 
Vol. 3
id: 
14502

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