Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Yellow-Shafted Northern Flicker

Before one lucky sighting this past June, I had only seen images of the beautiful Northern Flicker via the web.   I believe this is one of the most attractive birds among the Woodpecker species.  I didn't think I'd ever be fortunate enough to actually see one...

However, good fortune brought me the opportunity to watch this male Northern Flicker as he foraged around in our front yard for insects.  He didn't hang around for long, only a couple of minutes, but that was all I needed to get a few quick shots of him.  The images below are heavily cropped because he was quite a distance from me and I didn't approach him for fear of scaring him off.  When he did decide to take off, I got a glimpse of his underside feathers, a beautiful bright yellow- absolutely stunning in flight!


Adult male yellow-shafted Northern Flickers can be easily identified by their black malar (or moustache) which is absent in the female.  Flickers appear brownish overall with a white rump patch that’s conspicuous in flight and often visible when perched. The undersides of the wing and tail feathers are bright yellow, for eastern birds, or red, in western birds. With a closer look you’ll see the brown plumage is richly patterned with black spots, bars, and crescents.


Although it can climb up the trunks of trees and hammer on wood like other woodpeckers, the Northern Flicker prefers to find food on the ground. Ants are its main food, and the flicker digs in the dirt to find them. It uses its long barbed tongue to lap up the ants. They also eat fruits and seeds, especially in winter.

Click here to view a stunning image of a yellow-shafted Northern Flicker in flight.

Linked with Stewart at Wild Bird Wednesday,
Thank You for hosting this great meme, Stewart!




14 comments:

  1. This funny .... we both have Flickers today .... I love them!

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  2. he is a beautiful bird and great shots of him.

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  3. What a beautiful look at a great bird!...:)JP

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  4. That's a neat-looking bird for sure!

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  5. Definitely one of the most colourful 'woodie' species.

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  6. i love to spot the flickers, too. and watch them fling dirt in search of ants. :)

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  7. I agree - what a great looking woodpecker! I posted some woodpecker shots today, too! Also, although we have plenty of Flickers around here, and although I've had the chance to photograph them and read up on them, I never knew they ate ants! That is a very cool fact. I like them even more now.

    Iowa Voice

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  8. Love the Flickers, I do not see them often in my yard.. I wish! Great shots!

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  9. He's just stunning, Susan! So glad you saw him. Wonderful pictures.

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  10. he's a beauty!! i use to get them, one day a year, always in the fall. last winter, one stayed with me all winter and i took good care of him. i keep an eye out for him every day, i sure hope he comes back!!

    very nice captures of your exciting visitor!!!

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  11. So beautiful! I wish we saw more flickers around here.

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