Scarlet-backed flowerpecker

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Scarlet-backed flowerpecker
Scarlet-backed flowerpecker Gosaba Sundarban 0001.jpg
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Dicaeidae
Genus: Dicaeum
D. cruentatum
Binomial name
Dicaeum cruentatum

Certhia cruentata Linnaeus, 1758

The scarlet-backed flowerpecker (Dicaeum cruentatum) is a species of passerine bird in the flowerpecker family Dicaeidae. Sexually dimorphic, the male has navy blue upperparts with a bright red streak down its back from its crown to its tail coverts, while the female and juvenile are predominantly olive green. It is found in subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests and occasionally gardens in a number of countries throughout South and East Asia.


Male at Gosaba, Sundarban, West Bengal, India

The scarlet-backed flowerpecker was originally described by Linnaeus in 1758 in the 10th edition of his work Systema Naturae, with the binomial name of Certhia cruentata among the treecreepers.[2] It was later reclassified into the flowerpecker genus Dicaeum. The specific epithet cruentatum 'bloodstained' is derived from the Latin verb crǔentare 'to stain with blood'.[3] Genetic analysis of mitochondrial DNA of 70% of flowerpecker species showed the scarlet-backed and black-fronted flowerpecker (D. igniferum) - which is endemic to the Indonesian Lesser Sunda Islands - to be each other's closest relative; the males of both species have red plumage on their backs.[4]


scarlet-backed flowerpecker female
Female Scarlet-backed flowerpecker, seen in Bangkapi, Bangkok, Thailand

Measuring 9 cm (3.5 in) and weighing 7 to 8 grams (0.25 to 0.28 oz), the scarlet-backed flowerpecker is a small bird with a short tail. It exhibits sexual dimorphism. The male has a navy blue face, wings and tail, with a broad bright red stripe from its crown to its upper tail coverts. The female is predominantly olive green with a black tail and scarlet upper tail coverts and rump. Both sexes have creamy white underparts, black eyes and legs, and a dark grey arched bill. The juvenile has plumage similar to the female but has an orange bill and lacks the bright red rump.[5]

Distribution and habitat[edit]

It is found in Bangladesh, Bhutan, Brunei, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. No global population studies have been undertaken; it is thought to be common throughout most of its range particular in Thailand, although it is considered rare in Bhutan and Nepal.[1] It is found up to 1000 m (3500 ft), in subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests, wooded areas and gardens.[5] In the north of its range, it is found in southeastern China to Fujian (as the subspecies Dicaeum c. cruentatum).[5] It has been recorded from both native and plantation forest in West Bengal in India.[6]


It has been observed feeding on the figs of Ficus fistulosa and F. grossularoides in Bukit Timah Nature Reserve in Singapore.[7] It visits Syzygium jambos in urban Hong Kong.[8]


The scarlet-backed flowerpecker weaves its pouch-shaped nest hanging from a branch high up in a tree. The nest has a side entrance, typical for those of the flowerpecker family.[9]

Scarlet-backed Flowerpecker


A male photographed in Singapore
  1. ^ a b BirdLife International (2012). "Dicaeum cruentatum". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN. 2012. Retrieved 26 November 2013.
  2. ^ Linnaeus, Carl (1758). Systema naturae per regna tria naturae, secundum classes, ordines, genera, species, cum characteribus, differentiis, synonymis, locis. Tomus I. Editio decima, reformata (in Latin). Holmiae. (Laurentii Salvii). p. 119.
  3. ^ Simpson DP (1979). Cassell's Latin Dictionary (5th ed.). London: Cassell Ltd. p. 159. ISBN 0-304-52257-0.
  4. ^ Nyária, Árpád S.; Peterson, A. Townsend; Rice, Nathan H.; Moyle, Robert G. (2009). "Phylogenetic relationships of flowerpeckers (Aves: Dicaeidae): Novel insights into the evolution of a tropical passerine clade". Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 53 (3): 613–19. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2009.06.014. hdl:1808/6569. PMID 19576993.
  5. ^ a b c Brazil, Mark (2009). Birds of East Asia. A&C Black. p. 444. ISBN 978-0-7136-7040-0.
  6. ^ S. SIVAKUMAR; JEEJO VARGHESE & VIBHU PRAKASH (2006). "Abundance of birds in different habitats in Buxa Tiger Reserve, West Bengal, Indi" (PDF). Forktail. 22: 128–33.
  7. ^ Peh, Kelvin S.-H.; Chong, Fong Lin (2003). "Seed dispersal agents of two Ficus species in a disturbed tropical forest". Ornithological Science. 2 (2): 119–25. doi:10.2326/osj.2.119.
  8. ^ Corlett, Richard T. (2005). "Interactions between birds, fruit bats and exotic plants in urban Hong Kong, South China". Urban Ecosystems. 8 (3–4): 275–283. doi:10.1007/s11252-005-3260-x.
  9. ^ Strange, Morten (2000). Photographic Guide to the Birds of Southeast Asia. Singapore: Periplus. p. 365. ISBN 962-593-403-0.