Northern Flicker

Northern Flicker

Northern Flicker
(Colaptes auratus)

Order:  Piciformes
Family:  Picidae

Male Northern Flicker ("Yellow-shafted")
Photo © Mike Danzenbaker

Northern Flicker Information

Length:  12 - 14"

Habitat:  Open woodlands, forest edges, wooded swamps, orchards, farmlands, roadsides, parks, residential areas.

Diet:  Ants (staple), grasshoppers, beetles, caterpillars, crickets, and other insects.

Also wild fruits and berries, including wild cherries, dogwood berries, sumac fruit, and poison-ivy berries; some seeds and nuts.

  Calls and sounds of the Northern Flicker

Additional Information

Northern Flicker
Photos, physical description, range, habitat, diet, life cycle, behavior, and sounds. (From NatureWorks)

Female "Yellow-shafted" Northern Flicker

Female "Yellow-shafted" Northern Flicker

By Reago & McClarren on Flickr, CC

Northern Flicker
Identification Tips

  • Large woodpecker
  • Brown back and wings barred with black
  • Black crescent on upper breast
  • Beige breast and belly spotted heavily with black
  • White rump (obvious in flight)
  • Tail dark above
  • Two color forms, formerly separate species
  • Breeds in eastern United States and Canada
  • Tail and underwings are entirely yellow below, and retricies and primaries have yellow shafts
  • Red crescent on nape
  • Gray cap and nape
  • Tan face, chin, and throat
  • Adult male has black whisker

(Credit: U. S. Geological Survey)

Breeding Bird Survey Map,

Northern Flicker Breeding Map

(Image credit: USGS)

Winter Map from eBird

Sightings of the Northern Yellow-shafted Flicker Nov-Mar over last 10 years