Heart-spotted Woodpecker

Hemicircus canente

The heart-spotted woodpecker (Hemicircus canente) is a species of bird in the woodpecker family. It has a contrasting black and white plumage, a distinctively stubby body and a large wedge-shaped head making it easy to identify while its frequent calling make it easy to detect as it forage for invertebrates under the bark of the slender outer branches of trees. They move about in pairs or small groups and are often found in mixed-species foraging flocks. They have a wide distribution across Asia with populations in the forests of southwestern and central India which are slightly separated from their ranges in the Himalayas and Southeast Asia. A small, uniquely shaped, black and buff woodpecker with a large crest making the head look large for the short body and tail. Both males and females are predominantly black with heart-shaped black spots on white shoulders with broad white scapular patches and barring of flight feathers. The female has the forehead and crown buffy white while it is black on males. The throat is whitish and the underparts are dark olive grey. A tuft of feathers on the back are specialized and are lipid rich which causes the feathers to stick together in preserved specimens. These special feathers or "fat quills" sometimes make the rump feathers appear buff and may be a form of "cosmetic colouration" and the secretion is said to have a pleasant smell but the functional significance is unknown.
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Heart-spotted Woodpeckers on Birda


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Lucas Corneliussen
Wednesday 04 Jan 2023 - 6:35am
A map showing the sighting location
Kelly Siderio
Monday 03 Jul 2017 - 7:00am
A map showing the sighting location
Hemant Kirola
Saturday 26 Nov 2016 - 2:15pm
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