IUCN threat status:

Least Concern (LC)

Brief Summary

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The Rufous Woodpecker, Celeus brachyurus, is a brown woodpecker from South Asia. The most curious aspect of this bird's behaviour is that it lays eggs within the nests of a species of ants, called Acrobat ants (Crematogaster), that it preys on.

The taxonomic position of this species is still uncertain. It was originally placed in the South American genus Celeus, in spite of being different from other members of the genus in many aspects for lack of a better alternative and because it looked somewhat similar in appearance. The Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS) and Catalogue of Life (CoL) still place this species under the same genus. However, some systems of classification place this species under the genus Picus brachyurus, and, others, based on results of a DNA sequence analysis, under the monotypic genus Micropternus. The enigmatic woodpeckers of the genus Meiglyptes, and possibly Hemicircus, seem to be its closest relatives.

This species shows considerable variation over its geographic distribution, making the process of delimiting its races difficult. For example, two of the proposed races 'badius' (Sumatra) and 'celaenephis' (Nias I) are inseparable from the continental race 'squamigularis'.


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