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Northern Flicker

Northern Flicker
Photo Information
Copyright: Jean Yves Bissonnette (JYB) Silver Note Writer [C: 2 W: 0 N: 84] (916)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2008-06-13
Categories: Birds
Camera: Canon 30D, Canon 100-400L 4.5-5.6 IS USM, RAW @ ISO 400
Exposure: f/7.1, 1/800 seconds
Photo Version: Original Version
Date Submitted: 2008-09-18 11:39
Viewed: 4154
Points: 6
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Have a nice day to all and thanks for your critiques or comments.

Info on Northern Flicker.

A common ant-eating woodpecker of open areas, the Northern Flicker has two color forms found in different regions. The yellow-shafted form is common across the eastern and northern parts of North America, while the red-shafted form is the one found in the West.


Medium to large woodpecker.
Grayish brown.
Barred on top, spotted below.
Black crescent on chest.
Rump white, conspicuous in flight.
Yellow or red patches in wings obvious in flight.

Size: 28-31 cm (11-12 in)
Wingspan: 42-51 cm (17-20 in)
Weight: 110-160 g (3.88-5.65 ounces)
Sex Differences
Male with black or red mustache stripe. Female without mustache stripe, or with brown one.

Call a long series of loud "wik-wik-wik" notes. Also a softer "wik-a-wik-a-wik-a," and a strong single-note "peah."

Conservation Status
Widespread and common, but populations declining.

Other Names
Pic flamboyant (French)
Carpintero alirrojo, Pic-palo lombricero (Red-shafted Flicker) (Spanish)

Cool Facts

Although it can climb up the trunks of trees and hammer on wood like other woodpeckers, the Northern Flicker prefers to find food on the ground. Ants are its favorite food, and the flicker digs in the dirt to find them. It uses its long barbed tongue to lap up the ants.

The red-shafted and yellow-shafted forms of the Northern Flicker formerly were considered different species. The two forms hybridize extensively in a wide zone from Alaska to the panhandle of Texas. A hybrid often has some traits from each of the two forms and some traits that are intermediate between them. The Red-shafted Flicker also hybridizes with the Gilded Flicker, but less frequently, and the Gilded Flicker is considered a separate species.

The Northern Flicker is one of the few North American woodpeckers that is strongly migratory. Flickers in the northern parts of the range move south for the winter, although a few individuals often stay rather far north.

angela926, jaycee has marked this note useful
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Critiques [Translate]

Hello Jean Yves,
Great capture of this Northern Flicker hard at work, excellent sharpness, good depth of field, beautiful colors, good contrast against the cear blue sky, fantastic details in the plummage and the foreground wood. great pose.

Great shot! I was surprised to see one of these in by backyard in New Jersey last spring. couldn't get a good shot off because it was moving around too rapidly.

  • Great 
  • jaycee Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2454 W: 10 N: 8044] (25460)
  • [2008-09-18 22:13]

Hi Jean,

A magnificent capture of this Northern Flicker. Very rarely do we get such a good view of the entire bird. I love the way he is balanced on the tree. Beautiful colors and razor-sharp details of his head, eye, wings and plummage. The tree and the sky provide a wonderful setting. The composition is superb.


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