Northern Flicker

Colaptes auratus




Woodpeckers (Picidae)

Code 4


Code 6



Egg Color:


Number of Eggs:

3 - 12

Incubation Days:

11 - 16

Egg Incubator:

Both sexes

Nest Location:

6 - 20 feet above ground.

Nest Material:

Cavity lined with chips.


Some migrate



Northern Flicker: Medium-sized woodpecker with black-barred brown back, white rump, and black tail. Underparts are black-spotted pale brown with black crescent on breast. Two distinct races exist: Western form (red-shafted) has brown crown, gray face and red moustache stripe, with red-orange underwing and undertail visible in flight; eastern form (yellow-shafted) has gray crown, brown face and throat, red nape patch, and black moustache stripe, with yellow underwing and undertail visible in flight. Females of both races resemble males but lack moustache stripes.

Range and Habitat

Northern Flicker: This species breeds from Alaska east through Manitoba to Newfoundland and south throughout the U.S. and into Mexico and Cuba. It is a resident from approximately the U.S.-Canada border southward, as the northernmost birds are migratory. Preferred habitats include forest edges and open woodlands approaching savannas.

Breeding and Nesting

Northern Flicker: Three to twelve white eggs are laid in a cavity in a tree, utility pole, or birdhouse; usually excavates nest cavities in dead or diseased tree trunks or large branches. Incubation ranges from 11 to 16 days and is carried out by both parents.

Foraging and Feeding

Northern Flicker: Diet consists primarily of ants; also eats other insects, berries, and fruits; forages in trees, shrubs, and on the ground.

Readily Eats

Suet, Sunflower Seed, Nuts, Fruit, Sugar


Northern Flicker: Song is a loud, repeated "flicker" or "wicka-wicka-wicka"; also makes a loud "kleeer."

Similar Species

Northern Flicker: Gilded Flicker has red moustache stripe, yellow underwings, and black-spotted underparts.


Belly, undertail coverts, chest, flanks, and foreneck.

The upper front part of a bird.
The crown is the top part of the birds head.
The front part of the head consisting of the bill, eyes, cheeks and chin.
Also called the hindneck or collar, it is the back of the neck where the head joins the body.
The area between the uppertail coverts and the back of the bird.
Parts of a Standing bird X
Head Feathers and Markings X
Parts of a Flying bird X