Northern flicker (Colaptes auratus) – Woodpecker Week pt 4

Female Yellow-shafted Flicker (Colaptes auratu...

Image via Wikipedia

– Scientific Classification –

The Northern Flicker is common to wooded areas. This large woodpecker uses its down-curved bill to forage, mostly for ants on the ground. This is unlike other woodpeckers who forage along trees. Northern Flickers may also feed in flight. They have a barred, brown back, spotted belly, and a black bar on the breast. The coloration under the wings is yellow, which can be seen best in flight. While both sexes have the red nape, the male can be distinguished from the female by the black or red malar (a moustache-like stripe on the face).

Flickers are cavity nesters and may prefer to excavate their own. As with the Red-bellied Woodpecker, European Starlings may steal their nests. Both the male and female excavate the nest and care for the young. Northern Flickers have the second largest egg, behind the Pileated Woodpecker.



  • Wikipedia – Northern Flicker
  • The Sibley Field Guide to Birds of Eastern North America

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