BirdingASIA 25 (2016): 95–97 95
On 27 October 2014, PF was carrying out a wildlife
survey in the vici nity of the Bandealit office
(8.481°S 113.711°E), Ambulu Management Area,
Meru Betiri National Park, East Java prov ince,
Indonesia, when at 13h42 he saw a small, short-
tailed woodpecker about the size of the bird he
knew as Grey-and-buff Woodpecker Hemicircus
concretus, and at a glance it appeared similar to a
female of this species. At that time PF was unaware
of the changes that had led to the ta xon H. c.
sordidus, not found on Java, being elevated to full
species status, whilst retaining the common name
Grey-and-buff Woodpecker (del Hoyo et al. 2016a).
Concurrently, the taxon H. c. concretus, endemic
to Java, was renamed Red-crested Woodpecker H.
concretus (Winkler et al. 2016).
In October 2014, PF had recorded the bird as
a female Grey-and-buff Woodpecker; however,
further inspection of his images, on 28 August
2015, showed that the bird’s buffy-coloured head
was tinged slightly pink, with many ﬁne whitish
vermiculations. In addition, there was a striking
red patch in the malar area, whilst from upper
breast to belly the plumage was almost completely
black, and we re-identiﬁed it as a male White-
rumped Woodpecker Meiglyptes tristis (Plates 2–4),
recently accorded full species status (Wink ler
& Christie 2016). Then, on 28 October 2015, PF
recorded another woodpecker in Blok Muara, only
Recent records of the enigmatic Endangered
White-rumped Woodpecker Meiglyptes tristis
in East Java province, Indonesia
AGUNG SIH KURNIANTO, PUJI FIRMANSYAH & NIA KURNIAWAN
about 300 m south-west of his October 2014 record
(Plate 1). This second bird appeared to be foraging
alone in the treetops, sometimes ver y close to the
buildings. It lacked the red malar patch of the 2014
bird and was identiﬁed as a female White-rumped
Woodpecker (Plates 5 & 6). These t wo records
appear to be the ﬁrst sightings of the taxon tristis
for many years and t he ﬁrst records from East
The White-rumpe d Woodpecker was long
considered to be conspeciﬁc with Buff-rumped
Woodpecker M. grammithorax (del Hoyo et al.
2016b), found from south Myanmar, Peninsular
Thailand and Malaysia to Sumatra, Borneo and
Java, with the form tristis endemic to Java, but
found only on the western part of the island—as far
east as western Central Java province. However, the
form tristis di f fer s f rom grammithorax in a number
of characters, including a solid black breast and
abdomen rather than the black-and-buff barring of
grammithorax; stony-white rather than rusty-buff
barring and spotting, with a white rather than buff
rump; dense black-and-white barring continuing
around eyes rather than giving way to plain buffy
lores and eye-ring; and in the male a sl ig htly
brighter red malar patch (Winkler & Christie 2016).
T h e som e w h a t l a rg e r W h ite - r u mp e d
Woodpecker (17–18 cm) is superﬁcially similar to
the fema le Red-crested Woodpecker (13–14 cm),
Plate 1. Habitat where White- rumped Woodpecker Meig lyptes tristis was found in Blok Muara, Bandealit, Meru Betiri National Park,
96 3FDFOUSFDPSETPGUIF&OEBOHFSFE8IJUFSVNQFE8PPEQFDLFSMeiglyptes tristisJO&BTU+BWBQSPWJODF*OEPOFTJB
although the head and neck of the latter are plain
uniform grey whereas the head of both male and
female White-rumped Woodpeckers appears very
light pinky-buff in colour because of the extensive
very ﬁne white vermiculations (Plates 3, 4 & 6).
Vocally, White-rumped Woodpeckers seem to be
quieter than Red-crested and their call is a single
or double pit note. The call of the Red-crested
Woodpecker is a louder, slightly higher pitched
chick or pit and longer peew, ki-oo or kee-yew
16+*'*3."/4:") 16+*'*3." /4:")
Plates 3 & 4. Close-up views of the head of male White-
rumped Woodpecker showing red malar patch and ﬁne
vermiculations, 27 October 2014.
Plate 2. Male White-rumped Woodpe cker Meiglyptes tristis
around Bandealit oﬃce, 27 October 2014.
Plate 5. Female White-rump ed Woodpecker, Blok Muara, 28
Plate 6. Close -up view of the head of female White-rumped
Woodpecker sh owing ﬁne vermiculations but lacking red
malar patch, 28 Oc tober 2015.
BirdingASIA 25 (2016) 97
The new taxonomic arrangement has had a very
signiﬁcant impact on the threat status of the taxon
tristis. Historically, during the period when tristis
was rega rded as conspeciﬁc with Buff-ru mped
Woodpecker, there were very few records from Java
(van Balen 1999, MacKinnon et a l. 2010, Gorman
2014) and t he taxon appea red to be ver y rare.
Hellebrekers & Hoogerwerf (1967) studied oological
material from Java but reported that they had found
‘no material’ attr ibuted to tristis in either Bartels’s
collection (dating from the 1920s) or Hoogerwerf’s
own collection, both of which had been obtained
mainly from west Java. Hoogerwerf added a note to
the species account: ‘So far as my experience goes
this woodpecker is a very rare bird in Java’. Van
Balen (1999) did not record the species in any of
the 19 Javan forest fragments he sur veyed—Meru
Betiri was one of those areas—whereas all other
woodpecker species on Java were recorded in two
to ten of the fragments (M. Lammertink in litt.
2014). The total population is thought to be fewer
than 2,500 mature individuals and it has been re-
classiﬁed as Endangered (BirdLife International
(Editors’ note. In the light of the almost
complete lack of hard data to be found in the above
accounts, even this estimate might be regarded as
We thank the staff of Meru Betiri National Park and
all members of PEH (Forest Ecosystem Cont rol).
We thank SERIWANG (Malang Birdwatcher Group)
and Imam Tauﬁqurrahman for discussions on the
identiﬁcation of the birds. ASK thanks Muhammad
Iqbal for assistance with the draft manuscript.
van Balen, S. (1999) Birds on fragmented islands. Wageningen: Wageningen
University and Research Centre.
BirdLife International (2015) Species factsheet: Meiglyptes tristis. Downloaded
from www.birdlife.org on 02/09/2015.
Gorman, G. (2014) Woodpeckers of the world. London: Christopher Helm.
Hellebrekers, W. P. J. & Hoogerwerf, A. (1967) A further contribution to our
zoological knowledge of the island of Java (Indonesia). Zool. Verhand.
del Hoyo, J., Collar, N. & Christie, D. A. (2016a) Grey-and-buﬀ Woodpecker
(Hemicircus so rdidus). HBW Alive (http://www.hbw.com/node/467455
del Hoyo, J., Collar, N. & Christie, D. A. (2016b) Buﬀ-rumped Woodpecker
(Meiglyptes grammithorax). HBW Alive (http://www.hbw.com/
node/467465 accessed 22/03/2016).
.BD,JOOPO+1IJMMJQQT,WBO#BMFO#Burung-bu rung Sumatera,
Jawa, Bali, dan Kalimantan. Bogor: Burung Indonesia.
Winkler, H. & Christie, D. A. (2016) White-rumped Woodpecker (Meiglyptes
tristis). HBW Alive (htt p://w ww.hbw.com/no de/56329 accessed
(Hemicircus concre tus). HBW Alive (http://www.hbw.com/node/56332
Agung Sih KURNIANTO
Interdisipliner Program Master, Jalan Veteran
Malang 65145, Indonesia
Forest Ecosystem Control, Jalan Sriwijaya 53
Jember 68101, Indonesia
Email : puji.ﬁka@gmail.com
Animal Diversity Laboratory, Jalan Veteran
Malang 65145, Indonesia
Email : email@example.com