White-browed piculet

   ›      ›   White-browed piculet - Sasia ochracea

The white-browed piculet (Sasia ochracea) belongs to the family of woodpeckers, piculets and wrynecks, Picidae.

The white-browed piculet species are distributed in India, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam and China. Male piculets have a bright golden-yellow patch in the centre of forehead. These piculets are polytypic species.

Overview & Quick Facts Description & Identification
Pictures of White-browed Piculet Distribution & Range
Ecosystem & Habitat Diet & Feeding Behavior
Breeding Habits Migration & Movement Patterns
Conservation & Survival IUCN Status
Taxonomy & Classification Bird World

White-browed piculet - Overview

  • Scientific name: Sasia ochracea
  • Species author: Hodgson, 1836
  • Synonyms/Protonym: Sasia ochracea Hodgson, 1837
  • Family: Picidae › Piciformes › Aves › Chordata › Animalia
  • Vernacular names: English: White-browed piculet, Chinese: 白眉棕啄木鸟, French: Picumne à sourcils blancs, German: Rötelmausspecht, Spanish: Carpinterito cejiblanco, Russian: Белобровый рыжий дятелок, Japanese: インドミツユビコゲラ
  • Other names: Rufous Piculet
  • Distribution: India, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, China
  • Diet and feeding habits: small insects, bark beetles, ants, termites, spiders
  • IUCN status listing: Least Concern (LC)

Appearance, physical description and identification

The white-browed piculet (Sasia ochracea) is a small piculet, measuring 9-10 cm in length and weighing 8 to 12 grams.

The crown of the white-browed piculet is olive-green. There is a whitish streak above the eye (eyebrow region), which extends a little behind the eye. There is a small golden-yellow patch on the forehead of the male.

The upperparts of these white-browed piculet are olive-green with chestnut tinge. The rump is chestnut. The short tail is blackish. The underparts are cinnamon or rufous. The undertail is olive-green.

The bill is gray. The eye is surrounded by reddish bare skin. The irises are red. The feet are yellowish orange and have only three toes.

The juvenile white-browed piculet have duller plumage. The upperparts in juveniles are dull green and the underparts are dull gray. Their call consists of short "chi" or "tick" sounds.
Birds of India - Photo of White-browed piculet - Sasia ochracea
1.Indian birds - Image of White-browed piculet - Sasia ochracea by Dibyendu Ash

Indian birds - Image of White-browed piculet - Sasia ochracea
2.Birds of India - Photo of White-browed piculet - Sasia ochracea by John Gould/Henry Constantine Richter

Origin, geographical range and distribution

These white-browed piculet species are distributed in India, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam and south China.

In India, these white-browed piculets are distributed in the states of Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Sikkim, West Bengal, Assam, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Manipur, Tripura and Mizoram.

In China, these white-browed piculet species are distributed in the provinces of Yunnan and Guangxi.

The white-browed piculet nominate subspecies S. o. ochracea is distributed in north India, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, northeast India, north and central Myanmar, north and central Thailand, Laos and Vietnam.

The piculet subspecies S. o. reichenowi is distributed in south Myanmar and southwest Thailand. The subspecies S. o. kinneari is distributed in extreme north Vietnam and adjacent south China (south Yunnan and southwest Guangxi).

Ecosystem and habitat

These white-browed piculet species have high forest dependence. These species normally occur in altitudes from 250 to 2600 meters.

The natural ecosystems of these white-browed piculet species include tropical and subtropical moist montane forests, moist lowland forests, primary forests, dry deciduous forests, dry shrublands, bamboo forests, marshes, rivers, streams and pools.

Diet and feeding behavior

The diet of white-browed piculet consists mainly of small insects. Small invertebrates, bark beetles, ants, ant larvae, termites and spiders are their primary food.

These piculet species forage in the understory layer, pecking, probing and gleaning the trunks and branches of trees with their sharp beak. They usually forage in pairs or in small groups.

Reproduction and breeding habits

The breeding season of the white-browed piculet species is from March to June in Indian subcontinent. The laying season in southeast Asia is from April to July.

These white-browed piculet species are monogamous. The male courtship display includes hopping around the crouched female and repeatedly flying above her. Their nesting sites are tree cavities, especially in bamboos.

The white-browed piculet pair excavate their own nests. The entrance to the nest is a hole just fitting enough for the bird to enter. The clutch usually consists of two to five round whitish eggs.

Both the parents take turn to incubate the eggs and care the hatchlings. The eggs are incubated for about 12-15 days. The nestlings fledge in about 25 to 30 days.

Migration and movement patterns

These white-browed piculet species are non-migratory resident birds. The birds in higher elevations come down to lower levels and plains during winter.

Post breeding, the juvenile white-browed piculets may disperse and establish in new locations within the range. They may make local movements for feeding and breeding within their range.

Conservation and survival

The global population size of the white-browed piculet (Sasia ochracea) has not been quantified. The overall population trend of these piculet species is reported to be stable.

Throughout its range this piculet species is reported to be fairly common to uncommon. The generation length is 3.8 years. Its distribution size is about 4,450,000 sq.km.

Deforestation, degradation and fragmentation of habitats and logging operations are the main threats that may endanger the survival of these piculet species.

IUCN and CITES status

The white-browed piculet (Sasia ochracea) does not approach the thresholds for being Vulnerable under the range size criterion or under the population trend criterion, or under the population size criterion.

The IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) has categorized and evaluated the piculet species and has listed it as of "Least Concern".

The CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) status is ‘Not Evaluated’ for white-browed piculet (Sasia ochracea).
Taxonomy and scientific classification of Sasia ochracea
Species:S. ochracea
Binomial name:Sasia ochracea
IUCN status listing:
Least Concern
The three recognized subspecies of the white-browed piculet (Sasia ochracea) are: Sasia ochracea ochracea Hodgson, 1837, Sasia ochracea kinneari Stresemann, 1929 and Sasia ochracea reichenowi Hesse, 1911.
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1.Image source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:White-browed_Piculet_Khangchendzonga_National_Park_West_Sikkim_Sikkim_India_19.02.2016.jpg (cropped)
Image author: Dibyendu Ash | License: CC BY-SA 3.0
2.Image source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:BirdsAsiaJohnGoVIGoul_0168.jpg (cropped)
Image author: John Gould/Henry Constantine Richter | License: Public domain
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