Colaptes auratus
(Northern Flicker)

Order: Piciformes
Order Description: Woodpeckers
Family: Picidae
Family Description: Woodpeckers

Physical Description:
Size: 12.5-14" (32-36cm). A large woodpecker with a barred, cinnamon-brown back and spotted white belly. White rump, easily seen in flight, identifies this woodpecker. Gray head with brown crownClick word for definition and napeClick word for definition. Red mustache on male separated by a bold black collar from the spotted belly. Salmon-pink under-sides of tail and wings are conspicuous in flight.

Similar Species- No similar looking woodpeckers in Idaho. Pileated woodpecker gives a similar prolonged call, but lower pitched and descending. Female Williamson's Sapsucker.

Call note a strongly accented and descending Keee! Also Flicka-flicka-flicka! And a loud, prolonged series: week-week-week-week-week….

Breeds from tree limit in central Alaska and portions of Canada, south through British Columbia, eastern Montana, and interior (east of Rockies) to southern Texas, Gulf Coast, southern Florida, and Nicaragua. Winters from southern Canada, south through breeding range to southern Texas and Gulf Coast. Resident in portions of Southwest.

Found in forests (deciduousClick word for definition and coniferousClick word for definition), open woodlands, open situations with scattered trees and snags, riparianClick word for definition woodlands, pine/oak associations, parks, and deserts (usually containing large cacti). Preliminary results of Montana-Idaho study of old-growth and rotation-aged Douglas-fir found flickers are old-growth associates.

Feeds on insects (ants, beetles, wasps, grasshoppers, grubs, etc.). Also eats fruits, berries, and seeds (clovers, grasses, ragweed, etc.).

Feeds on ground or catches insects in air. Nests in cavity in standing snag; may nest on houses, poles, or banks. May return to same nesting cavity year after year. Cavities excavated by flickers are used by many species of secondary cavity users.

Both sexes incubateClick word for definition eggs for 11-12 days. clutchClick word for definition size is larger in northern range than in south. Nestlings are altricialClick word for definition. Young are tended by both adults, and leave nest 25-28 days after hatching.

Element Code: ABNYF10020
Status: Protected nongame species
Global Rank: G5
State Rank: S5
National Rank: N5B,N5N

Important State References:
Hejl, S.J. and R.E. Woods. 1990. Bird assemblages in old-growth and rotation-aged Douglas-fir/Ponderosa pine stands in the northern Rocky Mountains: a preliminary assessment. Pp. 93-100 in D.M. Baumgartner and J.E. Lotan, eds. Proceedings of a Symposium on Interior Douglas-fir: the species and its management. Feb 27, 1990, Spokane, WA.

Design by Ean Harker©1999, 2000.
Written by Jason Karl, 2000.