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Northern Flicker

About Northern Flicker

Medium size woodpecker; its upperparts are brown, barred blackish; underparts paler, spotted blackish, with back cresent on breast; rump is white, tail is black; underwing and head plumage varies between geographic races. There are two distinct groups in North America; “yellow shafted flickers” in the north and east, with underwings and most of the undertail yellow, gray crown and hind neck with red crescent on nape, buff face, and black mustache in male; and “red shafted flickers” in the west and in Mexico, with reddish underwings and undertail, brown crown and hind neck without red crescent, gray face, and red mustache in male; legs gray; bill black; eyes deep brown.

Both the male and the female will drill out a hole in dead wood of a tree, or a wide range of other sites; but it will also use an old cavity. It has 3-12 white eggs, incubated by both sexes, with the male doing the most, for 11-12 days.

This woodpecker has a slender bill and mainly has ground feeding habits; and many people do not recognize the Northern Flicker as a woodpecker. It hops around in different places such as the woodland floors, along the roadside and even in lawns. It uses it bill to go across leaves to expose the insects, from termites to caterpillars and aphids, and it will use its bill to go into ant hills, which is about 75 percent of its diet. It will visit bird feeders, just as a lot of birds like to do. The insects are licked up with the barbed, sticky tip of the bird’s remarkably long tongue.