A Piculet is one of the members of the ‘woodpecker” family. And the Speckled Piculet (Picumnus innominatus) is one of the only two Piculets found in India. The other one is the White-browed Piculet. In this article I will try to narrate some of my experiences about the Speckled Piculet.
A few days back I went to a bird sanctuary in a place named Kitam [average height from MSL 2000 feet], situated in southern part of Sikkim and discovered this cute and funny bird a few meters before the Forest Range Office there, just on the uphill side of the road. The reason why I called this bird “funny’ is due to its unusually small size, about 3 inches, compared to the 6 inches size which we are accustomed to see most of the times. Obviously, a woodpecker of length three inches will be amusing to us. Its area of foraging is completely different; the parched leaves and branches of the vegetation of the foothills. Most of the standard woodpecker of size six inches will surely not be able to sit on the small branches of trees where these birds can easily sit. Therefore the apparently invisible habitats of the ants in the dry leaves and branches are under total control of these birds. The manner the Piculets sit and move around is quite different from that of the woodpeckers. Unlike the woodpeckers, the Piculets don’t use their tails as a prop and like the other small sized birds, such as warbler, flycatchers, tits etc. they can sit on slender tree branches in an upright position.
These birds are seen in moist deciduous and semi evergreen forests in areas ranging from the foothills of the Himalayas in India to outside India in Pakistan in the north west, in Bangladesh in the north east and in Mayanmar. Their habitats are mainly in the dense under-growths and bamboo thickets of the forests.
A minute attention to the bird will reveal that there is an orange patch in the front portion of its forehead. And this will proof that the bird is a male one. In the case of the female counterparts this orange patch is absent.