995. Hemicercus canente.
The Heart-spotted Woodpecker.
Picus canente, Less. Cent. Zool. p. 215, pi. 73 (1830). Hemicercus canente, Blyth, J. A. S. B. xv, p. 282 ; id. Cat. p. 54; Horsf. & M. Cat. ii, p. 650; Jerdon, B. I. i, p. 280 ; Hume, S. F. iii, p. 61 ; id. Cat. no. 165 bis ; id. S. F. xi, p. 61 ; Blyth & Wald. Birds Burm. p. 74; Walden, Ibis, 1876, p. 344; Hume & Inqlis, S. F. v, p. 25 ; Butler, ibid. p. 503 ; Hume & Dav. S. F. vi, pp. 127, 500; Bingham, S. F. ix, p. 161 ; Oates, B. B. ii, p. 30 ; Hargitt, Ibis, 1884, p. 252; id.Cat. B. M. xviii, p. 486 ; Salvadori, Ann. Mus.Civ. Gen. (2) v, p. 564; Oates in Hume's N. & E. 2nd ed. ii, p. 314. Hemicercus cordatus, Jerdon, Madr. Jour. L. S. xi, p. 211 (1840); id. Ill. Ind. Orn. pl. xl; Blyth, Ibis, 1866, p. 354 ; Hume & Board. S. F. iv, p. 389; Hume, Cat. no. 165 ; Butler, S. F. ix, p. 385 : Davison, S. F. x, p. 354 ; Hargitt, Ibis, 1884, p. 257 ; id. Cat. B. M. xviii, p. 488 ; Barnes, Birds Bom. p. 114.
Coloration. Male. Top and sides of head with long occipital crest, nape and sides of neck, back, scapulars, upper and lower tail-coverts, and tail black, the forehead and anterior portion of crown with minute white spots; a band round the hind neck, connected with a median patch on the interscapulary tract and running forward -along the sides of the neck to the chin, including the throat and malar region, buff, as are also all the wing-coverts along the forearm, the wing-lining, and the rump ; quills black, margined with buff towards the base of the inner webs; tertiaries and a few of the larger and median coverts buff, each with a heart-shaped black spot near the end ; fore neck, breast, and abdomen dusky olive, darker behind, flanks black.
In the female and in the young of both sexes the forehead and crown are buff.
Bill black; irides dark reddish brown ; legs and feet very dark green, sometimes appearing almost black (Davison).
In males, length 6.4; tail 1.4 ; wing 3.9 ; tarsus .7: bill from gape 1.1. Females are rather smaller: wing 3.7; bill from gape.9.
The Malabar variety H. cordatus measures less on an average (wing in males about 3.7, in females 3.6), but small Burmese specimens are identical in measurement with large Malabar skins. The Malabar form has, as a rule, a more slender but not a shorter tarsus. I can find no characters by which the two geographical races can be constantly distinguished.
Distribution. Throughout the Burmese countries from Cachar in the north to Kussoom, about 150 miles south of the Tenasserim frontier in the Malay Peninsula, ranging eastward to Siam, Cambodia, and Cochin China. Also in the forests along the Malabar coast of India both below and above the Ghats from Khandala to Cape Comorin. The only place in the interior of the Peninsula whence this bird has been reported is in the Chanda forests, where Jerdon says he found it. I was on two occasions for some months each time in the forests around Chanda and certainly never saw it, nor has it been observed in the Central Provinces since Jerdon's time. Jerdon does not say he obtained specimens; and although he very rarely made a mistake, I think the occurrence of this species in the Indian Peninsula, except in the Malabar tract, needs confirmation.
Habits, &c. Pound in pairs, sometimes in families, in forest or clearings, usually haunting the tops of high trees. The note is peculiar, rather loud and long, and is frequently uttered. The eggs, usually two in number, have been found by Mr. Inglis in Cachar in March, by Major Bingham and Mr. Davison in Tenasserim in December and March, and by Mr. Darling near Kussoom, Malay Peninsula, in July : they are white and glossy, deposited on chips in a hole made in a tree, and measure about .9 by .7.