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Recent records of the enigmatic Endangered White-rumped Woodpecker Meiglyptes tristis in East Java province, Indonesia



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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
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
Java province.
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,
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 oce, 27 October 2014.
Plate 5. Female White-rump ed Woodpecker, Blok Muara, 28
October 2015.
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 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.
88: 1–64.
del Hoyo, J., Collar, N. & Christie, D. A. (2016a) Grey-and-bu Woodpecker
(Hemicircus so rdidus). HBW Alive (
accessed 22/03/2016).
del Hoyo, J., Collar, N. & Christie, D. A. (2016b) Bu-rumped Woodpecker
(Meiglyptes grammithorax). HBW Alive (
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 de/56329 accessed
(Hemicircus concre tus). HBW Alive (
accessed 22/03/2016).
Interdisipliner Program Master, Jalan Veteran
Malang 65145, Indonesia
Forest Ecosystem Control, Jalan Sriwijaya 53
Jember 68101, Indonesia
Email :
Animal Diversity Laboratory, Jalan Veteran
Malang 65145, Indonesia
Email :
ResearchGate has not been able to resolve any citations for this publication.
Full-text available
This study describes, analyses and provides suggestions for the amelioration of the impact of age-long deforestation on the distribution of forest birds on the islands of Java and Bali (Indonesia). The first section deals with colonisation and extinction processes of forest birds in a number of remaining forest patches on Java. In the regenerating forest of the Krakatau Islands colonisation and extinction of land birds appear to follow vegetation succession, and therefore seem to affect the monotonic change as predicted by MacArthur & Wilson's equilibrium theory of island biogeography.Extinction of forest birds in the Bogor botanical gardens appears to mirror closely the condition of bird communities in the surroundings of this isolated woodland patch. Distribution patterns of forest birds across 19 highly scattered forest fragments ranging from six to 50,000 hectares show clearly that the ability of birds to survive in surrounding habitat reflects the ability to survive in these patches. To show this, four ecological groups of forest birds have been distinguished: (1) forest interior birds, (2) forest edge birds, (3) woodland birds and (4) rural/urban birds. Nestedness patterns (in which species are found in all fragments larger than the smallest one in which it occurs) are found to be strongest for species restricted to forest interior and edge, weaker for secondary growth, and weakest for rural and urban bird species. A large number of forest interior species appear to be absent from most patches smaller than 10,000 ha, and most are entirely absent from forest patches smaller than 100 ha.In the second section of this thesis the conservation status of three globally threatened, high-profile birds is analysed. The endemic, endangered Javan hawk-eagle Spizaetus bartelsi , traditionally considered amongst the most vulnerable forest dwellers, appears to survive in 137-188 breeding pairs in often small and isolated rainforest patches; its survival is explained by (a) juvenile dispersal capabilities, (b) broader niche widths and (c) rather opportunistic feeding. Partly protected by local taboos on hunting, the vulnerable green peafowl Pavo muticus has survived many centuries of human pressure; nowadays at least 1000 birds are scattered across numerous subpopulations. The wild population of the endemic, critically threatened endemic Bali starling Leucopsar rothschildi collapsed since its discovery in 1910 to near extinction in 1990, due to habitat loss and popularity amongst bird-keepers world-wide; despite various conservation measures (captive breeding, awareness programmes, etc.) an intricate web of socio-economic factors prevents the species from emerging from this precarious situation.
The present authors independently from one another studied oological material from Java. The results of their studies are combined in the present paper. Hellebrekers deals with three collections, held by the Rijksmuseum van Natuurlijke Historie at Leiden, brought together (a) by M. E. G. Bartels and his sons (4770 shells), (b) by J. G. Kooiman (280 shells), and (c) by H. J. V. Sody (175 shells). Of these collections those made by Bartels and Sody consist almost exclusively of eggs from West Java, while that made by Kooiman originates from East Java. Hoogerwerf gives details of 1020 shells of his own collection, almost all of which originate from West Java. These were obtained after the appearance in 1949 of a paper in which he published the colour descriptions and measurements of 5680 Javanese eggs which, however, were not weighed (Hoogerwerf, 1949). In the present paper the weights of 2200 of these previously discussed shells are published by Hoogerwerf. The remainder of the 1949 material (including the Bouma collection from Central Java) is in the Zoological Museum at Bogor, Indonesia, and therefore could not be weighed for the present study. In total, below are published the measurements of 6245 and the weights of 8240 shells. A large number of eggs of the families Phalacrocoracidae, Ardeidae, Ciconiidae, Threskiornithidae and Plataleidae of which Hoogerwerf gives details here, were not collected, but put back into the nests after being measured, as this was done also with part of the material reported by him in 1949. In Hoogerwerf's part it often happens that the number of measured shells is not in accordance with that of the weighed ones. This is caused by the fact that weights of previously examined shells — of which the measurements are not included in the present paper — are added; also the measurements
Species factsheet: Meiglyptes tristis. Downloaded from on 02
BirdLife International (2015) Species factsheet: Meiglyptes tristis. Downloaded from on 02/09/2015.
Woodpeckers of the world
  • G Gorman
Gorman, G. (2014) Woodpeckers of the world. London: Christopher Helm.
Grey-and-buff Woodpecker (Hemicircus sordidus)
  • J Del Hoyo
  • N Collar
  • D A Christie
del Hoyo, J., Collar, N. & Christie, D. A. (2016a) Grey-and-buff Woodpecker (Hemicircus sordidus). HBW Alive ( accessed 22/03/2016).