Woodpecker's headache!

These are a couple of Red backed Woodpeckers or Black-Rumped Flamebacks (Dinopium benghalense) I saw in my backyard. I got their attention because of the characteristic hammering sound they generate while searching for insects in tree barks.
When I did a web search, I found some amazing evolutionary adaptations they have for their niche.
They hammer 10 times a second up to 5 hours & creates a force of 30G (30 times the force of gravity) when the beak hits the tree bark.

  • beak is stronger than steel with a chisel like tip
  • neck muscles highly developed for hammering
  • skull is relatively thick with relatively spongy bone to cushion the brain
  • bones between skull & beak are joined by flexible cartilage, which cushions the shock
  • relatively less cerebrospinal fluid around brain & relatively small brain, less prone to concussion
  • contracts mandibular muscles just before impact, transmitting the shock to whole body passing the brain
Read more,


  1. Nice pic. Reminds me of Woody Wood Pecker :)

  2. Very nice, informative blog. You must be very busy. Hope you get time to put up more posts.

    Refreshing change from Cricket, holiday resorts, war and politics.

  3. lovely birds. i just did a post on them too.


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