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Buff-rumped Woodpecker - BirdForum Opus

Meiglyptes tristis
Male (sub)species grammithorax.
Photo © by the late Dr Manjeet Singh
F.R.I.M., Sg Buloh,Selangor, Malaysia, April 2008

Includes: Zebra Woodpecker


Size-7.5 inches (19cm). Small woodpecker with short black bill and a slight nuchal crest.

  • plumage with black ground colour densely barred more or less finely buffy or greyish (colour subspecies dependent). Barring finer on the head and upper chest
  • underparts wholly barred or barred on flanks and upper chest (subspecies dependent)
  • rump pale buff or whitish

Male has red malar stripe


Tenasserim(Myanmar) and the Malay Peninsula to the Greater Sundas.

Female (sub)species grammithorax
Photo © by the late Dr Manjeet Singh
F.R.I.M., Sg Buloh, Selangor, Malaysia, May 2008


May be treated as 2 species, in which case subspecies grammithorax elevated as "Buff-rumped Woodpecker" (strict sense), M. grammithorax, and tristis as "Zebra Woodpecker", M. tristis [3].


Clements recognises the following subspecies [1]:

  • M. t. grammithorax: "Buff-rumped Woodpecker". Southern Burma and peninsula Thailand to Sumatra, Borneo and adjacent islands. [Buffy not greyish bars. Loral area and area immediately surrounding the eye often unbarred. Underparts entirely barred.]
  • M. t. tristis: "Zebra Woodpecker". Java. [Generally darker. Barring greyish or whitish. Underparts without barring except on flanks. Face entirely barred.]


Broadleaved lowland forest, forest edges and secondary growth.


Usually frequents the canopy, solitarily or in pairs, sometimes as a family group. Generally unobtrusive. Sometimes forages with mixed species flocks.


Voice - a rapid trill ki-i-i-i-i-i- and also a single chit in flight.


  1. Clements, JF. 2009. The Clements Checklist of Birds of the World. 6th ed., with updates to December 2009. Ithaca: Cornell Univ. Press. ISBN 978-0801445019.
  2. BF Member observations
  3. Gill, F, D Donsker, and P Rasmussen (Eds). 2023. IOC World Bird List (v 13.2). Doi 10.14344/IOC.ML.13.2. http://www.worldbirdnames.org/

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