Identifying Different Types of Flickers: A Comprehensive Guide

Types of Flickers

Flickers are a group of woodpecker species belonging to the genus Colaptes. They are known for their distinctive behavior of “flicking” their wings when in flight, hence the name “flicker.” These birds are found in various habitats across North and Central America. Here are some common types of flickers:

1. Northern Flicker (Colaptes auratus)

The Northern Flicker is the most widespread and well-known species of flicker. It has a varied plumage with a brownish body, black bars on the back, and a prominent black crescent on its chest. Northern Flickers have a characteristic “flickering” flight pattern and are commonly seen foraging on the ground for ants and beetles.

2. Yellow-shafted Flicker (Colaptes auratus)

The Yellow-shafted Flicker is a subspecies of the Northern Flicker and is found in the eastern parts of North America. It has yellow underwings and tail feathers, which are visible during flight. Males have a red “mustache” marking on the cheek, while females have a gray or brown cheek.

3. Red-shafted Flicker (Colaptes auratus)

The Red-shafted Flicker is another subspecies of the Northern Flicker and is found in the western parts of North America. It has red underwings and tail feathers, visible during flight. Males have a red mustache marking on the cheek, while females have a gray or brown cheek.

4. Gilded Flicker (Colaptes chrysoides)

The Gilded Flicker is a species found in the southwestern parts of North America, including parts of California, Arizona, and New Mexico. It has a golden or yellow coloration on its underparts and a distinct black crescent on the chest. Gilded Flickers are often found in desert and arid habitats.

5. Cuban Flicker (Colaptes fernandinae)

The Cuban Flicker is an endemic species found only on the island of Cuba. It has a brownish plumage with black bars on the back and a distinctive red crescent on the crown. Cuban Flickers are mainly found in forested areas and are considered a vulnerable species due to habitat loss.

These are some of the notable types of flickers. Each species has its unique characteristics, range, and habitat preferences. Flickers are fascinating birds known for their distinctive behaviors and striking plumage.