Thursday, January 12, 2017

Northern (Yellow-shafted) Flicker

This Northern Flicker was forced off the suet feeder by an aggressive Red-bellied Woodpecker. Flickers are, in fact, woodpeckers that often feed on the ground. In the summer, they gorge on ants. In the winter, they feed like other woodpeckers, and even occasionally on fruit.

The eastern Yellow-shafted Flicker is the expected race here in Minnesota. You may recall that we found an intergrade bird, showing characteristics of a Yellow-shafted and a Red-shafted flicker during our recent Christmas Bird Count. Unlike the previous flicker, this one shows tan, not gray, sides to its face and yellow shafts in the tail—clearly a male Yellow-shafted Flicker. The hybrid zone between the races runs Ron the Texas panhandle north through the western Dakotas and into southwestern Canada.

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