This male Common Flameback (Dinopium javanense) was photographed by Johnny Wee at the Singapore Botanic Gardens on September 2008. The woodpecker was eating an over-ripe chempedak fruit (Artocarpus integer) for about 15 minutes.
Woodpeckers are primarily insectivorous, feeding mainly on insects and their larvae, as well as other arthropods. Many have also been observed to feed on plant products including tree sap.
Winkler & Christie (2002) note that frugivory is widespread among woodpeckers. Fruits and berries are taken by many species, including nuts, acorns, pine seeds. The New World Picidae have bee observed to take mango, papaya and banana.
There are two flamebacks recorded for Singapore. The Common Flameback is a common resident. On the other hand, the Greater Flameback (Chrysocolaptes lucidus) is locally extinct. According to our bird specialist, R Subaraj, “For Greater, the bird is larger, has a yellow eyering and the moustachial streak has a split forming a loop with the malar stripe. In most of Malaysia, this is a species of mangrove. The only record of Greater Flameback in Singapore is apparently the type specimen back in 1900.”
Winkler, H. & D. A. Christie, 2002. Family Picidae (Woodpeckers). In: del Hoyo, J., A. Elliott & J. Sargatal (eds.), Handbook of the birds of the world. Vol. 7. Jacamars to Woodpeckers. Lynx Editions, Barcelona. Pp. 296-555.