Northern Flicker (Colaptes auratus)

Northern Flicker
Northern Flicker, female - Morongo Valley, CA
© Tom Benson
Northern Flicker
Northern Flicker, male - Devore, CA
© Brad Singer

The Northern Flicker is a common winter vistor to campus from September through March, with an unseasonal record of a single bird on the north side of Badger Hill 03-10 Jun 2012. It is a common year-round breeding resident in southern California, with an increase of migrant birds in the winter. The subspecies that occurs in the western United States is called the Red-shafted Flicker (C. a. cafer), because the shafts of the wing and tail feathers are red; in the eastern United States, the feather shafts are yellow. The Slater Museum at the University of Puget Sound's Wing Image Collection includes photos of the upper wing and under wing of the Red-shafted Flicker and the upper wing and under wing of the Yellow-shafted Flicker.

High Count: 9, Average Count: 2-3

Male Northern Flickers have a brown crown, gray face and neck with red 'moustache' and black 'bib', brown upperparts with black barring, and creamy white underparts with black spots. Females are similar to males but lack the red moustache. In flight, both sexes show bright red feathers in the wings and tail.


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