Northern Flicker

click to hear it

Flickers belong to the woodpecker family, Picidae. The scientific name for the red-shafted flicker is Coloptes auratus cafer. 

In flight, note the conspicuous white rump. This and the barred brown back mark the bird as a Flicker. Close up, it shows a black patch across the chest. Flight deeply undulating. 

Size:  12-14" (30-35 cm) 

Voice: A loud wick wick wick wick wick, etc. Also a loud klee-yer and a squeaky flick-a, flick-a, etc. 

Flicker is the name of several species of woodpeckers that live in North America and South America. The red-shafted flicker and the yellow-shafted flicker are commonly found in wooded regions of Canada and the United States. Both are subspecies of the northern flicker. The red-shafted flicker is brown and black, with a gray neck and throat and a creamy-white breast marked with black. The male has a red mark on each cheek, and both sexes have bright red underwings. The bird is 12 to 14 inches (30 to 36 centimeters) long. The yellow-shafted flicker resembles the red-shafted flicker, but the throat is brown, the red mark is on the back of the head, and the underwings are golden-yellow. This bird is also called the golden-winged woodpecker and the yellowhammer.

Flickers build their nests in holes that they dig in trees with their bills. Because of this habit, people sometimes call the bird the highhole or highholder. The female flicker lays 3 to 10 white eggs. Both parents care for the eggs and young.

 Flickers find much of their food on the ground. They feed chiefly on ants. They also eat worms, insects, and berries.

back to birds             next bird