Rufous Woodpecker – juvenile and advertising call

on 19th April 2022


I observed a family unit of Rufous Woodpeckers (Micropternus brachyurus) on 10th August 2020 along a primary jungle trail at the Kledang-Sayong Forest Reserve, Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia – an adult female, adult male and one juvenile bird. They were foraging in thick vegetation (I have seen them feeding close to the ground). I could not get close but offering some images of the juvenile (above and below).


Earlier on May 28th 2020 at the urban environment in Ipoh, I had an opportunity to listen to another Rufous Woodpecker make advertising calls, from a perch. Calls are a loud peal of notes that come out in a burst, often uttered 20-30 seconds apart (or longer). They vary in number of notes and duration. The ones I recorded had 11 notes but I have heard a range of 8-12 notes (Wells 1999 says 4-16, commonly around 8; Birds of the World says up to 16 notes). The duration of the full call I recorded was 1.35 seconds but have heard durations of 1.5-1.7 seconds. There is a slight up lift then a decrescendo component to the call. A sonogram and a waveform are shown below – note the layered natured of the calls, spanning a large frequency range of 1-21 kHz. I guess this is what it really means to ‘cover all your bases’.

A sonogram and a waveform.

Call recording here:


Amar-Singh HSS (Dato’ Dr) – Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia

Equipment: Equipment: Nikon D500 SLR with Nikon AF-S Nikkor 500mm f/5.6E PF ED VR, handheld with Rode VideoMic Pro Plus Shotgun Microphone

If you like this post please tap on the Like button at the left bottom of page. Any views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the authors/contributors, and are not endorsed by the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum (LKCNHM, NUS) or its affiliated institutions. Readers are encouraged to use their discretion before making any decisions or judgements based on the information presented.

YC Wee

Dr Wee played a significant role as a green advocate in Singapore through his extensive involvement in various organizations and committees: as Secretary and Chairman for the Malayan Nature Society (Singapore Branch), and with the Nature Society (Singapore) as founding President (1978-1995). He has also served in the Nature Reserve Board (1987-1989), Nature Reserves Committee (1990-1996), National Council on the Environment/Singapore Environment Council (1992-1996), Work-Group on Nature Conservation (1992) and Inter-Varsity Council on the Environment (1995-1997). He is Patron of the Singapore Gardening Society and was appointed Honorary Museum Associate of the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum (LKCNHM) in 2012. In 2005, Dr Wee started the Bird Ecology Study Group. With more than 6,000 entries, the website has become a valuable resource consulted by students, birdwatchers and researchers locally and internationally. The views and opinions expressed in this article are his own, and do not represent those of LKCNHM, the National University of Singapore or its affiliated institutions.

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