Family Woodpeckers (Picidae)

Least Concern

Lesser Sri Lanka Flameback (Dinopium psarodes)


French: Pic de Lichtenstein German: Rotrückenspecht Spanish: Pito dorsirrojo

Picus psarodes

A. A. H. Lichtenstein

, 1793,

southern India; error = Sri Lanka


Hitherto considered conspecific with D. benghalense, but here treated as a full species due to (compared with neighbouring race jaffnense) shining scarlet central upperparts shading to dull red on wings vs golden-yellow shading to dull yellow (3); lack of black on carpal (1); overall longer-billed, longer-winged and notably longer-tailed (effect size 2.94, score 2); screechier voice#R (allow 1); narrow hybrid zone in NC Sri Lanka (2). Distinct species status also supported by a phenotypic and genetic analysis#R. Sometimes referred to as erithronothos (or, erroneously, erithronothon), but psarodes has priority. Monotypic.

What do (1) and (2) mean? Learn more about the scoring system.

Sri Lanka (except N).

Descriptive notes

c. 28 cm. Male has forehead and crown black with broad red feather tips, red crest, black nape and hindneck; white supercilium extending to nape, white-streaked black band... read more


Calls similar to those of D. benghalense, but more screeching, less musical; also gives a... read more


Lowland forest, wooded gardens and plantations, to 1500 m.

Food and feeding

Feeds primarily on ants, especially those in genera Camponotus and Meranoplus, and including larvae and pupae of the... read more


Season Dec–Sept, mainly Feb–Jun and Aug–Sept; sometimes two broods in a season. Nest-hole in tree at variable height.... read more



Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Common. Global population not yet quantified, but species reported as being common to locally common throughout its range. Although... read more

Recommended citation

del Hoyo, J., Collar, N. & Christie, D.A. (2019). Lesser Sri Lanka Flameback (Dinopium psarodes). 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 9 December 2019).