Lesser goldenback Woodpecker

Swarnava Nandi (writer)/ January 8, 2017/ Uncategorized

Lesser Goldenback Woodpecker (Dinopium benghalense)

One of the few woodpeckers that are seen in the urban area is the Black-rumped Flameback or Lesser Golden-backed Woodpecker or Lesser Goldenback. Widely distributed in the Indian subcontinent, it is known as the “sonali kaththokra” in the Bengali language.

Birds of Bengal, Birds of India, Woodpeckers, Goldenback woodpeckers, Lesser golden-back woodpecker, Black rumped woodpecker

Lesser Flameback woodpecker

Where could you find the Lesser Goldenback Woodpecker in Kolkata?

If you walk along the tree-lined areas of Kolkata such as the Central Park, Rabindra Sarobar, Chintamoni Kar Bird Sanctuary, Shyamkhola, Eco Park you will be able to spot the Lesser Goldenback Woodpecker.

When should you photograph the Lesser Goldenback Woodpecker?

The ideal time to look for the bird is the afternoons. The Lesser Goldenpack Woodpecker bird is a shy bird; hence proper caution must be taken before attempting to go near it. Due to its golden coloured body and red hood it is easy to spot the Lesser Goldenpack woodpecker in the woods. They have also have a peculiar flight pattern through which they can be identified.

Photographing the bird, characteristics, breeding and the necessary details:

The Lesser Goldenback is a large species of 30 cm in length. It has a typical woodpecker shape, and the golden yellow wing coverts are distinctive. The rump is black and not red as in the Greater Flameback. The underparts are white with dark chevron markings. The black throat finely marked with white immediately separates it from other golden backed woodpeckers in the Indian region. The head is whitish with a black nape and throat, and there is a greyish eye patch. Unlike the Greater Flameback it has no dark moustachial stripes. The adult male has a red crown and crest. Females have a black forecrown spotted with white, with red only on the rear crest. Young birds are like the female, but duller.

The Greater Flameback can be distinguished from the Black-rumped Flameback (Dinopium benghalense) by its larger size, reddish back, and two thin black lines on the face that meet at the sides. Its call is similar, but lower in pitch than that of the Black-rumped Flameback´s.

They tend to build their nests by carving out a hole in the tree. The breeding season varies with weather and is between February and July. They mainly feed upon insects such as beetle larvae, sometimes also on nectar.

Lesser Goldenback Woodpecker call: kierk, in flight a scream of rattling and laughing.

I photographed the bird at Central Park, Kolkata in the afternoon as I had mentioned earlier that it is the best time to shoot the bird. They can be easily visible as they are found in plenty in this region. When I shot the bird it was busy carving out a cavity in the tree.


  • They are easy to spot because of the golden color and red hood
  • Woodpeckers have a following flight pattern and once learned can be identified.
  • best time to look for it is during the afternoon , between the woods


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