The Northern Flicker, also known as the Colaptes auratus, is a woodpecker species that is found across much of North America. Here are some key facts and information about Northern Flickers:
- Northern Flickers have a distinctive barred pattern on their back and wings, with a black crescent on their chest.
- Males have a red or black “mustache” stripe on their cheek, while females have a similar but brown stripe.
- They have a length of about 11-14 inches (28-36 cm) and a wingspan of 16-20 inches (40-51 cm).
Behavior and Habitat:
- Northern Flickers are primarily ground foragers, using their long, barbed tongue to capture insects such as ants and beetles.
- They are also known for drumming on trees with their bills as a way of communicating and establishing territory.
- Northern Flickers prefer open forests, woodlands, and parklands with large trees, and can also be found in suburban areas with mature trees.
- There are several subspecies of Northern Flickers, which can differ in appearance and range.
- The “yellow-shafted” subspecies is found in the eastern parts of North America and has yellow underwings and tail feathers, while the “red-shafted” subspecies is found in the western parts and has red underwings and tail feathers.
- Some subspecies, such as the “Gilded Flicker” found in the southwestern US and Mexico, have distinctive coloration and ranges.
- The Northern Flicker is considered a species of “least concern” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
- However, habitat loss and degradation due to human activities such as logging and urbanization can have negative impacts on their populations.
- Providing nest boxes for Northern Flickers can be a way to support their breeding success in areas where natural cavities are lacking.