Gilded Flicker Wednesday

Hello friends! Today’s featured woodpecker is the Gilded Flicker.

Gilded Flicker (Colaptes chrysoides)

Description:

Gilded Flickers are medium-sized woodpeckers, who look similar to their cousin, the Northern Flicker. Gilded Flickers are smaller than Northern Flickers, and seem to take a characteristic of each Northern variations. Gilded Flickers have yellow wings like the “Yellow-shafted” Northern and gray heads/red malar (cheek) stripes like the “Red-shafted” Northern. Female Gilded lack the malar stripes. Unlike they Northern, they have cinnamon brown foreheads. Their upperparts are “zebra-backed” and brown. Their underparts are gray and spotted. Gilded Flickers have a black crescent-shaped spot on their chests. Their yellow wings and white rump are conspicuous in flight. Juveniles are smaller and paler than adults.

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Adult Gilded Flicker (Image via CCNAB, birds-of-north-america.net)

Range:

Southwestern Arizona, northwestern Mexico, all of Baja California excluding the northwest corner. Very rare in southeastern California and southern Nevada

Habitat:

common in Sonoran habitats, desert uplands, riparian woodlands with willows and cottonwoods along streams and rivers

Food:

Mainly ants, insects, berries, nuts, seeds, fruit. Forages on the ground, along trees and cacti.

Breeding:

Males defend the territory by head/wing flicking, drumming, calling, and tail-spreading. Nest cavities are usually in saguaro cacti, but sometimes in cottonwood or willow trees. 4 to 5 eggs are incubated by both sexes for about 11 days. The young are fed mainly by regurgitation from the parents. Young fledge about 4 weeks after hatching, and will follow parents to foraging sites.

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Gilded Flicker in Arizona (Image by NPS via new.science360.gov)

Sounds:

a series of kee! notes, wik-wik-wik calls, drumming

Conservation:

Gilded Flickers are considered climate-threatened. Other threats include habitat destruction, urbanization, and European Starlings competing for nest cavities. They are still fairly common in their habitat. More research is needed about this woodpecker to help maintain populations.

Fun Facts:

  • Gilded, “Yellow-shafted” and “Red-shafted” Flickers used to be considered one species, called the Common Flicker.
  • There is a small population of Gilded and “Red-shafted” Northern Flicker hybrids.
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Author: BirdNation

I am an avid birder, teacher, and nature lover. I primarily birdwatch throughout New Jersey and Eastern Pennsylvania.

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