Family Woodpeckers (Picidae)

Least Concern

Black-rumped Flameback (Dinopium benghalense)


French: Pic du Bengale German: Orangespecht Spanish: Pito bengalí
Other common names: Black-rumped Woodpecker

Picus benghalensis


, 1758,

Bengal, India


Hitherto considered conspecific with D. psarodes, but Sri Lankan race (jaffnense) of present species differs from neighbouring psarodes on account of golden-yellow back shading to dull yellow on wings vs shining scarlet central upperparts shading to dull red (3); presence of black on carpal (1); overall shorter bill, shorter wing and notably shorter tail (2); less screechy voice (allow 1); narrow hybrid zone in NC Sri Lanka#R. Clinal decrease in size and variation in colour from N to S, and considerable individual variation, together with intergrading of populations, all combine to make racial delimitation difficult; forms tehminae and jaffnense provisionally recognized here, but both perhaps more appropriately included in puncticolle. Five subspecies currently recognized.

What do (1) and (2) mean? Learn more about the scoring system.
Subspecies and Distribution
  • D. b. dilutum (Blyth, 1852) – Pakistan and NW India.
  • D. b. benghalense (Linnaeus, 1758) – N & NC India E to Assam#R.
  • D. b. tehminae (Whistler & Kinnear, 1934) – SW India (Western Ghats).
  • D. b. puncticolle (Malherbe, 1845) – SC & S India.
  • D. b. jaffnense (Whistler, 1944) – N Sri Lanka.
  • Descriptive notes

    26–29 cm; 86–133 g. Male nominate race has black forehead and crown with red feather tips, red crest; white supercilium, white-streaked black band from eye... read more


    Calls include sharp whinnying rattle starting low and slowly, then rising and accelerating, before... read more


    All types of moist to dry woodland, mostly deciduous; open woodland and light forest, groves around... read more

    Food and feeding

    Chiefly ants, e.g. Camponotus and Meranoplus, and including larvae and pupae of the fierce red ant Oecophylla... read more


    Season mainly Mar–Apr, in S India also in Jul–Aug, and in Dec–Sept (depending on conditions) in N Sri Lanka; sometimes... read more



    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Common to locally common throughout range; one of the commonest and most widespread woodpeckers in Indian Subcontinent.... read more

    Recommended citation

    Winkler, H. & Christie, D.A. (2020). Black-rumped Flameback (Dinopium benghalense). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 27 January 2020).