During a roadtrip in the Kumaon Himalayas, I was lucky to get a few shots of a greater yellownape woodpecker (Chrysophlegma flavinucha) in interesting light.

In India, the greater yellownape is found mostly in the North and the East. I have seen them at 6,000+ feet in the Himalayas as well as in Corbett National Park. It is a brightly-colored medium-sized woodpecker with a moss-green back, a bright yellow nape, and a powerful pale bill. Gray underparts distinguish this species from the smaller lesser yellownape. This woodpecker gives high-pitched yelps or “kee-eep!” notes. They are most common in hilly and montane areas. As per research, greater yellownapes – since they most likely to be found in dense canopied forests with larger and taller trees – show good potential as indicators of forest quality.

Greater yellownape at dawn

Dawn encounter with a greater yellownape

I had been told that they visit a particular place early on the morning, so I got up before dawn and waited for them in biting cold. The woodpecker arrived just before sunrise. It flew away after a while, but luckily came back after a few minutes when the soft and warm light of the rising sun was shining on the branch on which it sat. Guess it wanted to enjoy the limelight. A memorable encounter on a chilly morning!

Greater yellownape from Kumaon Himalayas

Enjoying the limelight! Greater yellownape in the Kumaon Himalayas.