Colaptes auratus


The Northern Flicker has two color forms, which were formerly separate species, the Red-shafted in the west and the Yellow-shafted in the east. Interbreeding occurs where the species overlap, creating confusing versions of this bird. These are the only woodpeckers that commonly feed on the ground, where they search for insects, such as ants and beetle larvae.


General: Back and wings are brown with black barring. Black crescent on upper breast. Buff/tan breast and belly spotted with black. White rump. Top of tail is dark. Black bill. Two color forms. 11-12 inches in length.

Red-Shafted: Breeds in western U.S. and Canada. Gray face. Brown crown. Tail and underwings are red below. Retricies and primaries have light-red/pink shafts. Male has red mustache.

Yellow-Shafted: Tan face, chin, and throat. Gray cap and nape. Nape has a red crescent. Tail and underwings are yellow below. Retricies and primaries have yellow shafts. Male has black mustache.


Woodlands, open country with trees, farms, parks, and gardens.


6-8 white eggs. The eggs have an 11-14 day incubation period. Fledging occurs 25-28 days after hatching. The nest is built in a tree cavity or bird house.

Observed Locations:

  • Mission Trails Regional Park, San Diego
  • FRNC, Point Loma
  • Oak Hill Cemetary, Escondido

Click on an image to see the larger version.

Red-Shafted Male

Red-Shafted Male

Red-Shafted Male



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