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The Black-rumped Flameback is a large species at 26-29 cm in length. It has a typical woodpecker shape, and the golden yellow wing coverts are distinctive. The rump is black and not red as in the Greater Flameback. The underparts are white with dark chevron markings. The black throat finely marked with white immediately separates it from other golden backed woodpeckers in the Indian region. The head is whitish with a black nape and throat, and there is a greyish eye patch. Unlike Greater Flameback it has no dark moustachial stripes.
The adult male Black-rumped Flameback has a red crown and crest. Females have a black forecrown spotted with white, with red only on the rear crest. Young birds are like the female, but duller.Like other woodpeckers, this species has a straight pointed bill, a stiff tail to provide support against tree trunks, and zygodactyl feet, with two toes pointing forward, and two backward. The long tongue can be darted forward to capture insects.for more images..