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Northern Flicker

Colaptes auratus 
Woodpecker family (Picidae)

A medium-sized woodpecker. White rump and yellow feather shafts under wings are conspicuous in flight. Undulating (wavelike) flight pattern. Brown- and black-barred back and wings, whitish breast with black spots, wide black “necklace,” red patch on nape, gray crown. Male has a black “mustache.”

Open woodlands, forest edges.

Cavity nester. Excavates nest cavity in tree or post. Eggs are white. Clutch size – 6 to 7 eggs.


Loud series of “kek” notes, “kek kek kek kek.”  Call is similar to Pileated Woodpecker but Flicker’s notes are monotonic and all on one pitch whereas Pileated Woodpecker's notes are richer and vary in pitch.  Also a descending “kee-oo.

Name Origin:

The common name “flicker” is from the Anglo-Saxon, flicerian, for “fluttering of birds.”  The genus name Colaptes is from the Greek for “to peck with the bill.”  The species name auratus is from the Latin for “golden,” referring to the bird's yellow feather shafts.

In the Nature Park:
Year-round resident.