Fun Flameback Woodpecker Facts For Kids

Sharon Judith
Oct 20, 2022 By Sharon Judith
Originally Published on Aug 18, 2021
Edited by Monisha Kochhar
Fact-checked by Monisha Kochhar
The tail of the flameback is often seen thumping against the tree to give it support. Read on to discover more interesting flameback woodpecker facts.
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Age: 3-18
Read time: 6.2 Min

Next time you go birdwatching in your backyard, look out for some of these beautiful bird species with an undulating flight! The various types of flameback woodpecker species are known for their unique appearances and vibrant colors. For example, the black-rumped flameback is known to have an enticing black rump and black throat. As these birds are endemic to parts of India and Sri Lanka, they are called by their Sinhalese name 'Kaeralaa'. The black-rumped flameback is also said to appear on the Sri-Lankan postal stamp. Then there is the beautiful common flameback with its bright plumage and this bird is found to make its home in an open forest or mangrove. It is located in India and parts of Southeast Asia. Both the adult male and the female have a black stripe on the neck with a red rump and black tail. However, the male has a red crown while the female has a black crown. The greater flameback is a little similar to the common flameback in terms of its appearance. It has a small bill, a black nape, and a red rump and favor wet habitats. It occurs in the Himalayas of north India and the mangroves of Malaysia. The flameback woodpecker call varies from type to type.

If you want to learn more about a similar species, check out our pileated woodpecker fun facts for kids or our acorn woodpecker interesting facts that you're sure to enjoy.

Flameback Woodpecker Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a flameback woodpecker?

These woodpeckers are members of the Picidae family of birds.

What class of animal does a flameback woodpecker belong to?

They belong to the class of Aves. The common flameback woodpecker and the bigger flameback woodpecker both have a black neck.

How many flameback woodpeckers are there in the world?

The exact number of these bird species is unknown but although they have been assigned a Least Concern conservation status by the IUCN, their population trend is facing a decline.

Where does a flameback woodpecker live?

Given the wide range of these bird species, each one has its own distinct habitat. They're generally found in India, specifically the Western Ghats. The Sri Lankan region and parts of southeast Asia are also home to these woodpeckers.

What is a flameback woodpecker's habitat?

Like all other woodpecker species, they prefer living in open forests, low woodlands, and woodsy habitats with tall, green trees. Of late, a few species like the greater flameback is known to accommodate themselves in a habitat that is wet and the black-rumped flameback can adapt well to the urban areas.

Who do flameback woodpeckers live with?

These birds tend to live in pairs or small groups. At times, the common flameback species that occur in India live alone. They also tend to flock and forage together with mixed or similar species, looking for food and shelter together.

How long does a flameback woodpecker live?

As they are woodpeckers, their average lifespan is about 4-12 years, and the larger adult male bird species live for about 20-30 years.

How do they reproduce?

These birds are known to breed in tree cavities, large branches, and stumps and the breeding season is usually between January and February. The nest has a unique structure. It has a deep hollow-like cavity with a straight entrance. The female lays about three to four eggs inside this cavity and they take about 11 days to hatch. Once hatched, the baby birds take about 15-20 days to leave the nest.

What is their conservation status?

These birds, found across India and southeastern Asia, have been given a Least Concern (LC) status. However, there is a declining trend in their population.

Flameback Woodpecker Fun Facts

What do flameback woodpeckers look like?

The subspecies vary and differ in appearance, shape, and size. In common, these birds have a golden back which is why they are also called goldenbacks. The black-rumped flameback is the only one of this species with a black throat and rump which is black. The greater flameback differs from them with its white throat and black nape. The adult male is seen to have a red crest while the female has a white-spotted black crest. The common flameback adult male has a brilliant plumage. The crest is red and edged with black.

The Flameback Woodpecker

How cute are they?

Each range and type of these woodpeckers are significant and beautiful in their own way! Next time you visit your local bird zoo or aviary, pay close attention to their details. With colorful bodies, vivid markings, and distinct calls, it brings a sense of calmness and relaxation especially if you are into bird-watching. The adult male tends to be brighter looking than the female in most cases. This is because the bright red tuft that is usually present on the heads of the male bird is missing in most of the female birds and the bill is slightly small in a few species.

How do they communicate?

The subspecies of the flameback woodpecker communicate with each other using a unique technique called drumming. The adult male often uses this method to entice or attract their female mates and even stake a claim on their territories.

How big is a flameback woodpecker?

The length of these birds is usually between 11-11.8 in (28-30 cm) and, at times, 13 in (33 cm). They are almost the same size as that of an owl, some species being a bit bigger. The male is often larger in size than the female.

How fast can a flameback woodpecker fly?

You would be surprised to learn that the flameback bird is neither fast nor agile when it comes to flying. However, the larger flameback species are known to be fairly fast when they fly.

How much does a flameback woodpecker weigh?

These birds weigh around 2.3-3.5 oz (67-100 g).  They are medium-sized to slightly large but they are very lightweight.

What are the male and female names of the species?

There is no specific name for the male and female species of the Piciformes order.

What would you call a baby flameback woodpecker?

A baby flameback woodpecker is called a chick. They tend to take around 11 days to hatch and once they do, they take another 15-20 days to leave the nest.

What do they eat?

These bird species have an omnivorous diet so they eat small scorpions, beetle larvae, grubs, seeds, nectar from flowers and fruits, and worms.

Are they dangerous?

These birds are not dangerous to humans neither are they harmful. However, if you pose any threat to their nest, they may attempt to attack you.

Would they make a good pet?

The flameback woodpeckers are wild birds. Hence, they cannot be kept as pets. They must be left in their natural habitats.

Did you know...

Like all woodpeckers, these flamebacks can peck about 2o times in a second! They have a sharp bill too and a long tongue which is three times more than their bill.

Types of flameback woodpeckers

The flameback woodpecker has a range of 13 species under it. Some of these are the greater flameback woodpecker with its black nape and red rump found in parts of southeast Asia, the black-rumped flameback woodpecker or lesser flameback woodpecker found largely in parts of India, the crimson-backed flameback, the spot-throated or common flameback with its black-spotted creamy white throat, and the Luzon flameback woodpecker.

Why are they called flameback woodpeckers?

These birds have crimson, golden-yellow, or red-colored backs that resemble that of a flame. Hence, these birds are called flameback woodpeckers.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other birds including Frigate bird fun facts for kids or Flame Bower bird surprising facts pages.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable flameback woodpecker coloring pages.

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Written by Sharon Judith

Bachelor of Arts specializing in Psychology, Economics, and Sociology

Sharon Judith picture

Sharon JudithBachelor of Arts specializing in Psychology, Economics, and Sociology

A humanities and Science student, Sharon holds a Bachelor of Arts degree with a specialization in Psychology, Economics, and Sociology from Mount Carmel College and is currently pursuing her Master's in Science from Bournemouth University. She is passionate about research, content writing, and development, and has a keen interest in international finance and economics. With her strong analytical skills and inquisitive mind, she is always striving to deepen her knowledge and understanding of these subjects.

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