Northern Flicker (Colaptes auratus)

Order: Piciformes
Family: Picidae
Genus: Colaptes
Species: auratus


This bird has been reportedly found in the following regions:

Fairhope, Alabama
Anthem, Arizona
Prescott Valley, Arizona
, British Columbia
Amesti, California
Big Sur, California
Brisbane, California
Canoga Park, California
Klamath River, California
Vacaville, California
Aurora, Colorado
Denver, Colorado
Milford, Connecticut
Beverly Hills, Florida
Byron, Georgia
Montpelier, Idaho
Algonquin, Illinois
Cherry Valley, Illinois
Lexington, Illinois
Quincy, Illinois
Westchester, Illinois
Carmel, Indiana
Coatesville, Indiana
Patriot, Indiana
Yale, Iowa
Hebron, Kentucky
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Spencer, Massachusetts
Chesaning, Michigan
Constantine, Michigan
Detroit, Michigan
Traverse City, Michigan
Saint Paul, Minnesota
Sandstone, Minnesota
Brunswick, Missouri
Cole Camp, Missouri
Conway, Missouri
Gerald, Missouri
Osage Beach, Missouri
Saint Louis, Missouri
Lincoln, Nebraska
Sunapee, New Hampshire
Beachwood, New Jersey
Clark, New Jersey
Toms River, New Jersey
Woodstown, New Jersey
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Elephant Butte, New Mexico
Coram, New York
Rochester, New York
Cary, North Carolina
Corning, Ohio
Fremont, Ohio
Geneva, Ohio
North Ridgeville, Ohio
Cheshire, Oregon
Gladstone, Oregon
Troutdale, Oregon
Austin, Texas
Baytown, Texas
Fort Worth, Texas
Magnolia, Texas
San Antonio, Texas
Magna, Utah
South Pomfret, Vermont
Bastian, Virginia
Newport, Virginia
Richmond, Virginia
Roanoke, Virginia
Timberville, Virginia
Enumclaw, Washington
Joyce, Washington
Seattle, Washington
Shelton, Washington
Spokane, Washington
Vancouver, Washington
Show all

Members' Notes:


On Mar 31, 2019, Dannyboytoo from Bloomington, IL wrote:

This gorgeous bird, and mate visited our suet feeder today! They were here about the same time last year. Lexington, Illinois


On Nov 12, 2018, aguy1947 from Portugal Cove-St. Philip's, NL (Zone 5a) wrote:

Seen early morning and around dusk here in SE Newfoundland, Canada. Very shy bird, thus difficult to get a picture. Zone 5a. Our house is 'in the country' near spruce/fir forest with some deciduous trees. Ruffed grouse, juncos, crows, chick-a-dees are regular visitors too.


On Mar 29, 2016, mom2boxers from Bastian, VA wrote:

I saw a Northern Flicker in my front yard this morning digging under a bush in the mulch. I was stunned by it's triangular red patch behind its head and the pretty black and white markings on its back. I had to look it up and identify it. So, after googling I found it here too. I live in the VA mountains close to the WV border. Quite a find for me.


On Nov 27, 2014, CAndersen from Apple Valley,
United States wrote:

Sleek smooth looking bird, when it takes off you see a red flash on it's wings. Eats the Hackberries in our back yard and visits the bird bath.


On Mar 11, 2013, dwelpgarden from Beverly Hills, FL wrote:


On Mar 4, 2013, HeidiKHandmade from Vancouver, WA wrote:

I have seen both the yellow and red varieties of this bird in my town. It's amazing to watch them fly!


On Feb 25, 2013, weedsfree from Magna, UT (Zone 7a) wrote:

I just saw this one for the first time. It landed on the wood fence next to my bedroom window, which I was looking out of at the time he came to visit. I did some research on it and it is a very good thing we have a ground foraging woodpecker in our neighborhood now. It also said that this woodpecker is the most common and identifiable of the woodpeckers here. I have seen the downy woodpecker a few times before I saw this one. It is a pretty large bird as well. I thought it was a juvenile bird since it had the black spots on it's chest.

12/27/2013 My husband saw some of these by our front door a couple of days ago but I barely had a look at them before they flew off. Today, I saw 4 fly around our front door and lilac. It is so cool that we are attracting woodpecker... read more


On Jul 25, 2011, homesteadgirl from middle TN, TN wrote:

Is this bird the same as what some people call a yellow hammered woodpecker? If it is, we have them in Tennessee.


On Jun 14, 2011, Johnny_Va from Richmond, VA wrote:

I have had Northern Flickers nest in my garden trees on a regular basis for years. They seem to prefer dead tree limbs to nest. Rarely have I seen one at any of my feeders. This year there is a tree that is barely alive near the house. It has many dead branches and has given more opportunities to observe them. Rarely have I seen more than one at a time.


On Jun 10, 2011, gardeningfun from Harpersfield, OH (Zone 5a) wrote:

I loved this woodpecker! He is huge, compared to any other bird in my garden. He was making these huge sounds - to hear them go to this link - // and click on the listen link in yellow under name. It sounds so cool and is so loud! Some sites say it's making mating calls doing that.
This is the Eastern Flicker ("Yellow-shafted Flickers"). They have a red patch on their nape and yellow under their wings. The male has a black mustache.
They will eat off the ground, looking for ants and beetles. Likes utility poles and lays 6-8 eggs at a time.
They love suet with peanuts or even just peanuts set out on a table or something.


On Apr 23, 2011, muttlover from Marysville, OH (Zone 5b) wrote:

Always a welcome visitor. There are a lot of them in my neighborhood and the first spring I lived here I got quite a shock. Seems they are very territorial and the males announce their territory by banging on loud things. My bed was right up next to the wall with the chimney and I woke to the sound of a machine gun running through the wall. My male had discovered he could make lots of noise banging on the chimney cap.


On Jul 5, 2010, EmilySTT15 from Hagerstown, MD wrote:

Such a beautiful bird! I had a pair at my suet feeder almost everyday this past winter through early spring. I particularly loved when they would spread their wings, and you could catch the bright yellow underneath of them and on the under side of the tail feathers.

Peaking my interest, I did a little reading on the Northern Yellow Flicker in Petersons bird guide, and if you can catch a couple during their mating ritual they put on quite a show... almost like a dance! I watched as often as my 2 year old would allow but never got to see the ritual. Maybe next year? We shall see.


On Feb 24, 2010, macncat from Aurora, CO wrote:

Flickers are at my suet feeder several times a day. They seem to be in family groups and they sure love peanuts. Also in spring they pound on the gutters and vents on top of the house.


On Feb 15, 2010, gardenarian from Brisbane, CA wrote:

I live in the San Francisco bay area and saw a Northern Flicker (Yellow Shafted) yesterday. It had apparently been attacked by a hawk, as it had a large wound on it's shoulder. I tried to get it to bird rescue but it died en route.

I read that it's quite unusual for the Yellow shafted variety to be found in California this time of year. It was very bright yellow under the wings and tail feathers. It was sad to see such a lovely creature die. I'm looking around for more but it difficult to see the colors clearly unless you are very close. I saw two other Northern Flickers in the area (San Bruno Mountain) but couldn't identify them more specifically.


On Feb 15, 2010, pianofritz from Zirconia, NC wrote:

This beautiful bird has been living in a hollow tree about two hundred yards from our home in the mountains of Western North Carolina. The ice storm that came through here a couple of weeks ago caused so much damage to the trees on our 2.6 acres that I'm not sure his home survived. I'm hoping that he (or she) made it and will come back to the feeding platform right outside our den window. I sit at a card table right next to the windows and when there is a lot of feeding activity going on I set up my camera on a tripod with a remote shutter control. It's the only way I can get decent pictures without frightening them away. This flicker is nuts about the peanuts and doesn't eat anything else. Flies in and checks and if there are no nuts he leaves.


On Feb 14, 2010, BarbaraRose from Portland, OR wrote:

They are beautiful, larger birds. I have four or five that come to my suet feeder. They tend to be a little aggressive toward each other as to the pecking order for the suet - but are a joy to watch and never bother the other birds.


On Nov 20, 2009, violap from Fremont, OH (Zone 5b) wrote:

Found an injured one below my grapevines.
Very pretty with colorful wing markings.Took it to "Back to the Wild "for help.


On Feb 15, 2009, REBLOOMER from Cary, NC (Zone 7b) wrote:

The first time I heard this woodpecker, I thought it was some kind of jungle bird. A pair tend to inhabit my backyard, mainly in the dead trees we have. The female did land on my suet feeder on the deck during the snow fall, which surprised me. A large but beautiful bird.


On Jan 19, 2009, plantgnome from Coram, NY wrote:

beautiful markings on this bird . that loud noise prior to their arrival then landing on the suet calls my attention to the window. it also loves picking thru the grass in the summer. One of my favorites.


On Jan 4, 2009, nanny_56 from Putnam County, IN (Zone 5b) wrote:

One of my favorite birds! They come to the yard frequently but not on a regular basis.

We have the yellow-shafted here in Indiana. They are here year round, although you may not see them much during the winter. Come spring though, there is no mistaking all their loud mating calls!


On Jan 4, 2009, angele wrote:

I love these colorful visitors to my yard. They mostly visit to get a drink and seem to be one of the more wary birds. Hard to get a photo before they fly away.


On Dec 29, 2008, dahlianut from Calgary, AB (Zone 3a) wrote:

The Red-shafted Flicker has been sited in my garden August/September. They feed from open feeders and take dust baths in containers.