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

Pileated Woodpecker (Dryocopus pileatus) – Woodpecker Week pt 1

At the vet hospital, we recently had a set of bird feeders posted outside the window in treatment. It is both extremely distracting and fantastic for the bird nerd in me. Thanks to the feeders, I have decided to make this week WOODPECKER WEEK!

– Scientific Classification –

Pileated Woodpecker (Dryocopus pileatus)

Image via Wikipedia

I’ve seen and heard the Pileated Woodpecker (Dryocopus pileatus) around the hospital recently and got all bird-nerd-happy. They aren’t a common bird but have a widespread range, mostly in mature hardwood forests.

Approximate range/distribution map of the Pile...

US Range of Dryocopus pileatus - Image via Wikipedia

They may forage low to the ground or on fallen logs, as a favorite food source of theirs is carpenter ants. They are a rather large woodpecker (about crow sized), with a red crest, long neck and a white patch on the wings.

They raise their young in a hole (made by the male) in a tree. Once the young have been reared, the hole is abandoned and may be reused later by cavity nesting song birds. The holes made by Pileated Woodpeckers (including the multiple entrance holes to their roosts) may be so large that they’ll cause a dead tree to split.

Here’s a video including the call of a Pileated:

For a bit more information on the Pileated Woodpecker, you can go to NatGeo.


  • The Sibley Field Guide to Birds of Eastern North America