Northern Flicker

Scientific Name: Colaptes auratus

Habitat: The Northern Flicker is a woodpecker ranging all across North America. This bird lives in most forests in North America. Northern Flickers are not rare at all, and are a common sight in suburban areas that have some trees around. If you get out your binoculars and go to a wooded park you’ll probably find one.

Sound: The Northern Flicker’s call is a loud keer! keer! keer! or clear and rapid cuh-cuh-cuh-cuh-cuh-cuh!

Diet: Northern Flickers eat a variety of foods. They eat nuts, suet, seeds, small fruits, and primarily insects. Just ants make up 45% of a Northern Flicker’s diet. Flickers are the only woodpeckers that commonly feed on the ground, which they do because of their liking for ants.

Nesting: Northern Flickers are cavity nesters. They usually place their nests in dead tree trunks. They lay 5 to 8 eggs and incubate them for approximately 11 days. The eggs are white.

Description/field marks: These birds have distinctive color patterns. Adult males and females have a prominent black half moon bib, a dotted underside, and horizontal black stripes on a brown back. The adult male also has a red patch on its cheek which the female lacks. The Northern Flicker is about 12 inches long and is a large woodpecker.

Forms: This woodpecker has two forms: yellow shafted and red shafted. The yellow shafted form ranges in the east, and has yellow on the undersides of its wings that show when it flies. The yellow shafted form also has black mustache marks on its cheeks. The red shafted form lives in the west, and has red on the underside of its wings. It also has red mustache marks on its cheeks. The gilded flicker, a similar species, ranges in the southwest, and has yellow on the underside of its wings. It also has red mustache marks on its cheeks like the red-shafted form.
How To Attract: To attract Northern Flickers, put out a seed feeder or a suet feeder. Northern Flickers eat ants, so if there are ants in your yard, you may also get a Northern Flicker.

Northern Flicker at seed feeder

Northern Flicker

Northern Flicker

Northern Flicker

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