Celeus brachyurus (Vieillot, 1818)
The rufous woodpecker, (Micropternus brachyurus) is a brown woodpecker found in southern, eastern and northern India, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Myanmar, southern China, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei and Indonesia (Sumatra, Borneo and western Java). Its genus, Micropternus, is monotypic.
Description and systematics
It is a medium-sized, rufous-coloured woodpecker with a short crest and a short, weak and slightly curved black bill. It has black vermiculations on its rufous body and a dark eye stripe. The upperparts are finely barred black. The male has small red patches at the eyes.
In Dandeli, Karnataka, India
This singular species was formerly placed in the South American genus Celeus simply due to its somewhat similar appearance and for lack of a better alternative, but it differed from these species in many aspects. DNA sequence analyses have confirmed that the rufous woodpecker should be placed in the monotypic genus Micropternus. Its closest relatives seem to be the enigmatic woodpeckers of the genus Meiglyptes and possibly Hemicircus.
- Benz, Brett W.; Robbins, Mark B. & Peterson, A. Townsend (2006): Evolutionary history of woodpeckers and allies (Aves: Picidae): Placing key taxa on the phylogenetic tree. Mol. Phylogenet. Evol. 40(2): 389–399. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2006.02.021 PDF fulltext
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