Unveiling the Mysteries of the Crimson-breasted Woodpecker: A Rare Jewel in India’s Bird Sanctuary


The Crimson-breasted Woodpecker (Dryobates cathpharius) is a true marvel of the avian world. This bird’s vivid colours and fascinating behaviour epitomises nature’s ingenuity. For anyone identifying as a bird lover, spotting this striking Woodpecker is akin to unearthing a treasure. If you’ve ever walked through a bird sanctuary in India, the image of this extraordinary species likely adorns your dream bird image name list. This bird is more than just a visual spectacle; it embodies the complex ecosystems it inhabits. Offering a profound insight into the world of birdlife, the Crimson-breasted Woodpecker serves as an essential species in understanding the intricacies of forest dynamics. But what makes this bird so unique, and why does it capture the attention of birdwatchers and scientists alike? In this comprehensive guide, we’ll delve into the captivating world of the Crimson-breasted Woodpecker, exploring its key features, behaviours, and challenges in its natural habitat.


Serial NumberCharacteristicsDescription
1Common NameCrimson-breasted Woodpecker
2Scientific NameDryobates cathpharius
3ColorBlack and red with white streaks
4Average Length (Width)20-30 cm
5Average Height (Vertical)25-35 cm
6Type of BirdForest-dwelling
7Found in States in IndiaArunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram
8HabitatSubtropical moist lowland and montane forests
9IUCN StatusData Deficient

Features of the Crimson-breasted Woodpecker


As someone intrigued by bird measurements, it is fascinating that the Crimson-breasted Woodpecker can have a width ranging between 20 and 30 cm. Unlike what you might find in a bird shop near me, these woodpeckers are built to navigate through trees, piercing through the bark in search of insects. Their compact build allows them to move quickly, making them elusive subjects for bird photos.


In terms of its vertical length, the Crimson-breasted Woodpecker can measure between 25 and 35 cm from top to bottom. This makes it a moderate-sized woodpecker, far from the size of what you might find in a bird nest of a sparrow or finch. The height contributes to the bird’s ability to hammer into tree barks, thus aiding its feeding habits.

Running Speed

It may be hard to imagine a woodpecker running, mainly when you’re used to seeing bird flying species. However, woodpeckers do have a propensity to move quickly across branches. While they aren’t known for running speeds, they are agile climbers, which you rarely find in a bird shop.


The Crimson-breasted Woodpecker is a splash of colours that can catch any bird lover’s eye. The black and red plumage is complemented by white streaks, making it a captivating subject for bird pictures. The male’s distinct red patch on the nape adds to its striking appearance.

Habitat and Food of the Crimson-breasted Woodpecker

  1. Subtropical Moist Lowland Forests: These birds prefer moist lowland forests, making them a precious resident of India’s bird sanctuary.
  1. Montane Forests: They can also be found in higher altitudes in montane forests.
  1. Feeds on Insects: If you’re a birdlife sanctuary enthusiast, you’d be interested to know they primarily feed on insects, including ants and beetles.
  1. Plant Material: Besides insects, they also consume berries and seeds, often foraging in a manner similar to bird migration patterns.
  1. Nesting Areas: In terms of bird nest locations, these woodpeckers prefer tree branches and trunks.

Nesting and Nurturing

If you’re lucky enough to find a Crimson-breasted Woodpecker’s bird nest, you’ll be amazed by its simplicity and effectiveness. It’s often built on tree branches and comprises simple materials like twigs and leaves. This experience is entirely different compared to buying a birdhouse from a bird shop near me.


While not critically endangered, these birds face threats like deforestation and habitat loss, which can have long-term consequences for birdlife. The increasing human activities in their natural habitats disturb their nesting and feeding routines.

IUCN Status and Conservation

The Crimson-breasted Woodpecker is listed as ‘Data Deficient’ on the IUCN Red List. Bird sanctuaries and conservationists must focus on the habitat preservation of this species to gather more data and improve its status.


As a bird lover, the Crimson-breasted Woodpecker offers a compelling blend of beauty, habitat diversity, and unique behavioural traits. If you ever find yourself in a bird sanctuary in India, this species should be at the top of your must-see list. It encapsulates everything fascinating about birdlife—from its awe-inspiring colours to its intriguing nesting habits. Despite its challenges, including habitat loss and human disturbances, this Woodpecker remains invaluable to the ecosystems it inhabits. Its presence serves as a poignant reminder of the extraordinary diversity found in India’s bird sanctuaries and the critical need for ongoing conservation efforts. The Crimson-breasted Woodpecker is not just a beautiful bird to observe or photograph; it symbolises the rich biodiversity we stand to lose without concerted conservation efforts. So, the next time you’re in a bird shop near me or looking at bird pictures, remember that the real treasure lies in the wild, in the form of incredible species like the Crimson-breasted Woodpecker that await your discovery.

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