About The Northern Flicker

The Northern Flicker is a large member of the woodpecker family. It measures about 10 to 14 from head to tail. Its head is gray, with a noticeable red patch on the back part. Its bottom sides are light brown with dark brown or black specks. Dark, curvy bars may be found on its brown-gray wings, the feathers on which have yellow edges. The area under its wings may also be colored yellow. The male Northern Flicker has a moustache streak of red or black, while the female has a brown moustache stripe or none. This breed can be found all throughout North America, and in areas where it may share habitats with other Flicker range-based varieties, interbreeding may occur, which results to a wider range of traits.

The Northern Flicker Nesting Preferences

Northern Flickers, being woodpeckers, are able to dig their own tree cavities for nesting. They may also nestle in crevices of posts, normally at heights of 8 to 100 feet. The female Northern Flicker typically lays 7 to 9 eggs, all usually a pure white color. Male and female will then take turns incubating the eggs for about 12 days. They will then raise their offspring for about 4 weeks, after which the latter can be expected to leave the nest.

Building a Birdhouse For The Northern Flicker

A Northern Flicker will need a birdhouse with floor measurements 7 inches x 7 inches, and about 16 to 18 inches high. The entrance should be 2 ½ inches in diameter, positioned 14 to 16 inches from the birdhouse floor. The ideal mounting height is between 6 to 20 feet. Piling chips of wood inside the birdhouse would help attract the Northern Flicker, as it normally lives in cavities it was able to have hollowed out.

The Northern Flicker Mating Habits

Pairs in courtship will proceed with a ritual wherein they bob heads and let out a distinct mating call simultaneously. The same practice, however, if carried out by birds of the same gender, means that males are fighting for the same potential mate, or two sides may be fighting over the same territory.

The Northern Flicker Feeding Preferences

An odd habit of the Northern Flicker is feeding from the ground, in comparison to most members of the woodpecker family that normally glean from trees. Ants are its main source of nourishment, though this breed also enjoys fruits, seeds, and berries, as well as some insects caught from the air. Northern Flickers may easily be attracted to backyards that have hanging feeders containing hulled sunflower and black oil sunflower seeds.

Interesting Northern Flicker Facts

Among woodpeckers of North America, the Northern Flicker is one of the few keenly migratory varieties, typically moving south in time for winter. The specie is of great importance to forest ecosystems within its range, as the cavity nests these birds create may later benefit other birds and animals that are unable to excavate trees for shelter. In terms of its flight pattern, the Northern Flicker exhibits rippling movement that is easily recognizable. Its scientific name is Colaptes auratus, classified in the order Piciformes, family Picidae.