Northern Flicker

Colaptes auratus

Found in open habitats near trees
Brownish with red wing and tail undersides
The flicker is a large woodpecker

Size & Shape

Flickers are fairly large woodpeckers with a slim, rounded head, slightly down curved bill, and long, flared tail that tapers to a point.

Color Pattern

Flickers appear brownish overall with a white rump patch that’s conspicuous in flight and often visible when perched. The undersides of the wing and tail feathers are bright yellow, for eastern birds, or red, in western birds. With a closer look you’ll see the brown plumage is richly patterned with black spots, bars, and crescents.


Northern Flickers spend lots of time on the ground, and when in trees they’re often perched upright on horizontal branches instead of leaning against their tails on a trunk. They fly in an up-and-down path using heavy flaps interspersed with glides, like many woodpeckers.


Look for flickers in open habitats near trees, including woodlands, edges, yards, and parks. In the West you can find them in mountain forests all the way up to tree line.


Have you spotted this bird in a particular area?
Share you insights and photos in the comments below!

Leave a Reply