BIRD OF THE WEEK / WEEK 19: May 7, 2018

© Liron Gertsman


Northern Flicker

Species Name

Colaptes auratus


28-36 cm length | 42-54 cm wingspan | 90-166 gm weight

A medium-sized woodpecker with a long, strong, pointed bill, a longish tail and short legs.

The back, wings and tail are brown and barred with black. The underside is light grey, buff or white and spotted with black. The face is grey and light-brown with a rufous eye stripe and the male has a red or black moustache stripe. They have a large, black patch on the chest and the tail is dark on top and the rump is white. They display either red or yellow under the tail, underwings and shafts of the primaries depending on if they are of the yellow-shafted or red-shafted variety.

Habitat / Behaviour

Insectivore | Woodland

The flickers are more terrestrial than other woodpeckers, and often forage on the forest floor through leaf litter, looking for food. They eat mostly insects such as ants, flies, butterflies, moths and beetles but they may also eat small amounts of snails and the berries and seeds of poison oak, dogwood, sumac, wild cherry, bayberries, hackberries, elderberries, sunflower and thistle.


Monogamous | cavity nest | 6-8 white eggs | 1 brood

The Northern Flicker has one of the largest clutches of all North American woodpecker species, just behind the pileated woodpecker. Hatchlings are fed by regurgitation.