Orange-backed Woodpecker – family unit and calls

posted in: Species, Videography, Vocalisation | 0
Adult male
Adult male

“I have occasionally met this family of Orange-backed Woodpeckers (Reinwardtipicus validus xanthopygius) at this site over many years. In the past I would only see the adult pair or the pair with one juvenile.

Adult female
Adult female

“On this occasion I saw 4 birds. One adult male (top), one adult female (above), one juvenile (below)…


“…and one that I would describe as a ‘young’ female (below). This last bird was still immature and lacked the mature face and demeanour of the adults.

"Young" female
“Young” female

“Literature supports that 1 or 2 eggs are laid and 1 or 2 fledge (Wells 1999; Winkler & Christie, HBW 2016). But Wells also states that larger parties have been seen of 4-7, ‘probably including families’.

“I know that much earlier in the year this pair has a juvenile female with them. I suspect that this young female has remained with the family while another juvenile has been successfully produced. It is possible that young do not leave the family unit immediately and may continue together for a while.

“I was also able to observe this last bird for an extended period as the adults with juvenile bird went deeper in. The adult female did come back to look for this ‘younger’ as it was calling out frequently (perhaps distressed by my presence and their absence).

“I took a short handheld video recording, using a rocky outcropping for support, of calls and behaviour. The classical, continual calls of ‘pit-pit-pit’ or ‘kit-kit-kit’ ending with a loud sharp yelp of ‘yik’. The frequency/rate of the calls can vary from time to time.
It was these calls that had initially helped to locate the birds and they continued for quite some time, even after I had left (I left fairly quickly so as not to impair feeding).

“Video recording here:

“May need to step up the volume to hear the softer ‘kit-kit-kit’ calls.”

Dato’ Dr Amar-Singh HSS
Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia
24th December 2016

Location: Kledang-Sayong Forest Reserve, Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia
Habitat: Trail along primary jungle


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