Family Woodpeckers (Picidae)

Least Concern

Greater Sri Lanka Flameback (Chrysocolaptes stricklandi)


French: Pic de Ceylan German: Ceylonsultanspecht Spanish: Pito sultán de Ceilán
Other common names: Sri Lanka Flameback, Crimson-backed Flameback

Brachypternus Stricklandi

E. L. Layard

, 1854,

Gillymalle, Sri Lanka


Until recently, considered a subspecies in the C. lucidus group of taxa (C. guttacristatusC. stricklandi, C. strictusC. erythrocephalusC. haematribon, C. lucidus and C. xanthocephalus). Differs from C. guttacristatus in having crimson vs golden upperparts (3), yellow vs black bill (3), much weaker postocular superciliary stripe (reduced to spots) (2), and weaker supramoustachial line (ns[1])#R#R. Monotypic.


Sri Lanka.

Descriptive notes

29–30 cm. Distinctive woodpecker. Male has crown and crest deep red, rest of head black except for very thin white supercilium (often appearing as a line of small spots),... read more


Common call a very rapid, high-pitched trilled “kiriririri”, much faster than that of C.... read more


Dense lowland forest and hill forest, mainly in wet zone; also other well-wooded areas, including... read more

Food and feeding

Diet includes invertebrates such as beetles and ants; probably also some plant material. Forages mainly on large trees and snags, including... read more


Season Oct–Mar, sometimes also Aug–Sept. Nest-hole excavated by both sexes, at up to c. 20 m above ground in tree; entrance a vertical oval... read more



Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Locally not uncommon. Fairly common in many areas and reasonably widespread throughout the island. Appears to be suffering slow... read more

Recommended citation

del Hoyo, J., Collar, N. & Christie, D.A. (2020). Greater Sri Lanka Flameback (Chrysocolaptes stricklandi). 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 20 January 2020).