Buff-rumped Woodpecker (Meiglyptes tristis) Nest Building

on 11th February 2023
Image 1: A pair of Buff-rumped Woodpecker, Meiglyptes tristis,  excavate nest in a dead tree trunk.

I saw a pair of Buff-rumped Woodpecker (Meiglyptes tristis) on 7th February 2023 at a forest reserve outside of Ipoh (see image 1). This section of the forest has been partly logged decades ago, with strong re-growth and primary forest on both sides. The nest is located 12 meters up in a dead tree that is situated in a gully with a stream running past. There are a number of old woodpecker and barbet holes in this dead tree. I watched the birds intermittently over 2 hours, while I was also observing different babbler species in that area. 

Some observations:

1.    Both partners were involved in nest excavations.

2.    Most times they worked independently with the other partner playing a ‘look-out’ role.

3.    Once I saw the female join the male and excavate together (see image 2). She then gently nudged him out of the way to take over fully.

Image 2: The female nudged the male away from the nest excavation.

4.    Nesting activities were interrupted by a pair of Javan Myna (Acridotheres javanicus) that came to check out an old hole that was to the right and below the nesting site (see image 3). This pair of mynas were already using another hole on the other side of the tree trunk but seemed keen to displace the woodpeckers. The woodpeckers came back later to continue working on their nest.

Image 3: A Javan mynah interrupted the Buff-rumped Woodpeckers when the mynah inspected an old nest below and to the right of the Woodpeckers’ nest-in-progress. 

Wells (1999) notes that only a few nests have been reported. There are no details on the incubation and fledging periods. Nests have been reported 2.5-8 meters up in live or dead tree trunks, often at the forest-edge. The nest I observed is higher than previously reported locally. 

I hope to continue observations, provided the birds have not been deterred by the mynas.  



Wells, D.R. (1999). The birds of the Thai-Malay Peninsula: Vol. 1 (Non-Passerines). Christopher Helm, London.


Dato’ Dr Amar-Singh HSS

Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia


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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.

2 Responses

  1. i am overjoyed to see besgroup continues after all. there were apprehensions some years ago there may not be new posts on it as it was difficult for one person to keep acting as administrator.

    i seem to have lost track of how i posted bird observations on this site before. nor do i see a log in right now.

    1. Dear Hamesha,

      BESGroup is now under new administration. Although the founder, Prof YC WEE has taken a back seat, he is still consulted on his expertise, wisdom and vision.

      You can submit your articles and photos to [email protected]
      Videos are best submitted as You-tube links as our hosting platform is unable to post videos greater than 2 MB.

      Looking forward to seeing your articles.

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