Northern Flicker (Colaptes auratus)


Northern Flicker (red-shafted)

Northern Flicker (red-shafted)

Information: In this area the most common flicker is the red-shafted, the yellow-shafted is more common to eastern America. (You can see by the top photo the reddish orange under the tail in the east those feathers would be yellow and the colors would be evident under the wings when seen in flight.) At one time they were considered different species however, now they are considered the same. Birders however commonly refer to this version as the “red-shafted northern flicker.”

Identification: The spotting on a flicker and the color during flight make the bird very easy to identify. The difference between female and male is the colorful red comma next to his beak which indicates a male. (For the yellow shafted the comma is black.) Either female lacks this comma marking. I’ve observed flickers in many locations from visiting my bird feeder (presumably for the ants located under it) to the yard, on top of trees and commonly in fields. The birds I’ve noticed tend to be alone or with one other mate and thus do not seem to fly in flocks.

Cornell’s page on the Northern Flicker


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