Family Woodpeckers (Picidae)

Least Concern

Common Flameback (Dinopium javanense)


French: Pic à dos rouge German: Feuerrückenspecht Spanish: Pito culirrojo de Java

Picus javanensis


, 1797,



Closely related to D. shorii. Until recently lumped with D. everetti, but differs from that taxon in heavily spotted and streaked vs virtually plain upper breast (2); stronger white postocular supercilium (2); (in female) glossy black crown and nape with bold white spotting vs matt-black crown with red nape (3); underparts scaled more than mottled (ns[1]); central throat and chin white with black streaky mesial line vs lightly peppered black (ns[1]); (in male) no reddish stain in black submoustachial area#R (ns[1]). Recent molecular analyses provided “some support” for this split#R. Race malabaricum previously attributed to Whistler & Kinnear, but author is Whistler alone#R. Race raveni often synonymized with borneonense, which itself is sometimes considered inseparable from nominate. Six subspecies currently recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • D. j. malabaricum Whistler, 1934 – SW India#R.
  • D. j. intermedium (Blyth, 1845) – Bangladesh and Assam to C & E Myanmar and S China (SW Yunnan), and S throughout most of Indochina.
  • D. j. javanense (Ljungh, 1797) – peninsular Thailand S to Sumatra, including Riau Archipelago, and W Java.
  • D. j. borneonense (A. J. C. Dubois, 1897) – Borneo except NE.
  • D. j. raveni Riley, 1927 – NE Borneo and offshore islets.
  • D. j. exsul (E. J. O. Hartert, 1901) – E Java and Bali.
  • Descriptive notes

    28–30 cm; 67–90 g (java­nense), 79–100 g (interme­dium). Male has brownish-red forehead and upper lores, red crown and crest,... read more


    Variable series of notes, “kowp-owp-owp-owp”, in flight; single or double “kow... read more


    Moist secondary and open forest, open deciduous woodland, scrub, and mangroves; also in teak forest... read more

    Food and feeding

    Ants, insect larvae; also small scorpions (Scorpiones), cockroaches (Blattodea), other insects. In pairs, or in mixed-species flocks.... read more


    Jan–Jun, mostly Feb–Apr, in India; Jan–Oct in SE Asia, mostly Jun in Thailand, to Jul in Peninsular Malaysia; Apr–... read more



    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Locally fairly common in India; local in Bangla­desh; uncommon to common in SE Asia. Occurs in many protected areas in all parts... read more

    Recommended citation

    Winkler, H. & Christie, D.A. (2019). Common Flameback (Dinopium javanense). 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 13 December 2019).