Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum

Dinopium javanense (Ljungh, 1797)

Species:D. javanense
Common Names:Common Flameback, Common Goldenback
Status:Common resident


Size 28–30 cm

Read more about the Piciformes order.
Read more about the Picidae family.


Found throughout Singapore and its offshore islands.

General Biology

The Common Flameback is often heard and seen in gardens, kampong, wooded areas, mangroves and plantations of rubber and coconut. A loud and sharp call is often uttered as it flies off its vertical perch on a tree. These birds excavate nesting holes about 3 to 10 m above the ground, usually in a dead coconut palm.

They can be aggressive, as seen when confronting a Plantain Squirrel (Callosciurus notatus) or defending its territory from other males as seen in this peculiar behaviour.

It has been documented that it used tree sap to rid its feathers of ectoparasites in the phenomenon of "anting" instead of the usual ants. 

As with many birds, it tends to confront its reflection when in front of a morror or a glass window, a video of whic can be viewed HERE.


Fruits like Rambutan (Nephelium lappaceum), Chempedak (Artocarpus integer); insects like alate termites; ants, grubs, etc. found in rotten tree branches that it pecks the surface before probing with its long tongue - also see HERE and HERE.

Life Cycle

It chisels ou a hole in a tree trunk for its nest.


Wang, L. K. 2011. Woodpeckers. Pp. 507. In: Ng, P. K. L., R. T. Corlett & H. T. W. Tan (editors). Singapore Biodiversity. An Encyclopedia of the Natural Environment and Sustainable Development. Editions Didier Millet, Singapore. 552 pp.

Wang, L.K. & Hails, C.J. 2007. An annotated checklist of birds of Singapore. Raffles Bulletin of Zoology, Supplement 15: 1–179, Singapore.

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