985. Micropternus gularis.
The Malabar Rufous Woodpecker.
Picus (Micropternus) gularis, Jerdon, Madr. Jour. L. S. xiii, pt. 2, p. 139 (1844). Micropternus gularis, Blyth, J. A. S. B. xv, p. 17; id. Cat. p. 61 ; Jerdon, B. I. i, p. 294; Blyth, Ibis, 1867, p, 297; Holdsworth, P. Z. S. 1872, p. 428 ; Hume, S. F. i, p. 434; v, p. 481; id. Cat. no. 179 ; Blanf. His, 1874, p. 92; Fairbank, S. F. iv, pp. 255, 265 ; Laird, S. F. vii, p. 470; Legge, Birds Ceyl. p. 200; Vidal, S. F. ix, p. 53 ; Davison, S. F. x, p. 356 ; id. Ibis, 1885, p. 331 ; Hargitt, Ibis, 1885, p. 7; id. Cat. B. M. xviii, p. 399; Barnes, Birds Bom. p. 118; Davidson, Jour. Bomb. N. H. Soc. vi, p. 335. Phaiopicos jerdonii, Malh. Rev. Mag. Zool. 1849, p. 535; id. Picidae, ii, p. 3, pl. xlvii.
Coloration and sexual distinctions similar to those of the two preceding species, except that the feathers of the chin and throat which, as in M. brachyurus, are darker, except on their whitish edges, than the breast-feathers, are confined to a tract in the middle of the throat and do not extend to the malar region. The head is usually dusky above, as in M. phaeoceps. Upper parts generally barred with black, lower parts seldom barred in adults, the flanks alone showing some traces of barring.
Length 9 ; tail 2.75; wing 4.75; tarsus .9 ; bill from gape 1.2.
Distribution. Ceylon, and the forest tracts near the Malabar coast, both below and above the Ghats, as far north as the neighbourhood of Bombay.
Habits, &c. Similar to those of M. phaeoceps; this species has been observed by several writers to feed on ants, and both Davison and Aitken found the eggs laid in ants' nests. According to Legge, it often feeds on the ground, and he has seen it breaking up the dried dung of cattle. He also says it has a loud note, often heard very early in the morning.