Dinopium Javanense (Common Flameback)

The Common Flameback or Common Goldenback (Dinopium Javanense) is a species of bird in the family Picidae. It is found in Bangladesh, Brunei, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. The spot-throated flameback is sometimes considered a subspecies.

The Common Flameback frequents moist open forest and deciduous woodlands, mangroves and scrub. At higher elevation, it frequents pine forests.It is often seen in cultivated areas, parks and gardens, and usually in lowlands, but according to the range, also up to 1000, 1500 and 1700 metres of elevation.


The Common Flameback is a large woodpecker. Its contrasted bright plumage makes this bird a ray of sunlight among branches and foliage.

Adult male has bright coloured plumage. On the upperparts, hind neck and upper mantel are black. The rest of upperparts are olive, strongly washed golden. The feathers are edged yellow and we can see sometimes orange or red tinge on the back. The lower back and the rump are bright red. The blackish-brown uppertail-coverts may be tinged olive and the tail is black. The flight feathers are blackish-brown with white spots on inner webs. Secondary and tertial flight feathers show olive-yellow outer webs.

On the underparts, the background is white, with edged and tipped-black feathers giving conspicuous scaled effect, with heavier markings on the breast. The lower underparts are rather barred than scaled. The underwing is brown with white spots. The undertail feathers are blackish-brown.

On the head, crown and crest are red, whereas forehead and upper lores are brownish-red. The crown is finely edged black. The head sides are black and white, with a black stripe from the eye to the nape, and a narrow black moustachial line extending down to the upper breast. A white supercilium extends from above the eye to the nape side, and a broad white stripe crosses the cheeks from the lores and extends down to neck and breast sides. Chin and throat are creamy-white, crossed by a line of small black spots from the bill base to the lower throat.

The bill is blackish with paler base, relatively short and curved on culmen. The eyes are reddish-brown or brown, with narrow black eye-ring. The legs and the three toes are grey or brown, often tinged greenish.

The female is very similar but she is duller than male. On the head, crown and crest are black, finely streaked white.

The juvenile resembles adults. It has blackish-brown breast with white spots and the lower underparts are darker. The eyes are greyer.

The young male has black forehead and crown and red crest, whereas the young female has pale streaks on the crown.


The Common Flameback utters variable series of notes. In flight, it gives several “kwop-owp-owp-owp”. When perched, it utters a single “kow” of two “kow-kow”. We can also hear rattle, harsh “churrrr” and fast “ka-di-di-di-di”. It also performs rapid drums.
Common Flameback - Bird Sound (Copyrights YouTube)

General Biology

The Common Flameback is often heard and seen in gardens, kampong, wooded areas, mangroves and plantations of rubber and coconut. A loud and sharp call is often uttered as it flies off its vertical perch on a tree. These birds excavate nesting holes about 3 to 10 m above the ground, usually in a dead coconut palm.
They can be aggressive, as seen when confronting a Plantain Squirrel (Callosciurus notatus) or defending its territory from other males as seen in this peculiar behaviour.
It has been documented that it used tree sap to rid its feathers of ectoparasites in the phenomenon of "anting" instead of the usual ants.
As with many birds, it tends to confront its reflection when in front of a mirror or a glass window.
The Common Flameback attacking its' own image (Copyrights YouTube)


The Common Flameback feeds mainly on invertebrates, various insects and larvae. It forages at all levels in woodlands and although it prefers the lower parts of the trees, it also forages near the treetop or at mid level.

It gleans and probes in bark crevices and pecks after removing pieces of bark. It often makes short pauses while climbing quickly. It also hawks insects.

These woodpeckers are often seen in pairs and sometimes with other Picidae species. They also consume plant matter such as berries, fruits and seeds.

During the courtship displays, both mates chase each other throughout the trees. The displays involve crest-raising, bowing and head-swinging. The male performs courtship feeding to the female. They nest in holes in trees. This species is resident in its range.

Justification (IUCN Red List)

This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). Despite the fact that the population trend appears to be decreasing, the decline is not believed to be sufficiently rapid to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size has not been quantified, but it is not believed to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.

No comments:

Post a Comment