Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘male Northern Flicker’

Most woodpeckers have simple patterns of black and white feathers and sometimes a touch of red. Northern Flickers (Colaptes auratus), on the other hand, have a beautiful brown plumage that is richly patterned with black spots, bars, and crescents and also have brightly-colored wing and tail feathers that, alas, are often hidden from view when they are perched—I like to think of flickers as the “rock stars” of the woodpecker world.

I was fascinated to read on the Cornell Lab of Ornithology website that there are two variants of Northern Flickers, an Eastern one and a Western one. “The key difference is the color of the flight-feather shafts, which are either a lemon yellow or a rosy red. Yellow-shafted forms have tan faces and gray crowns, and a red crescent on the nape. Males have a black mustache stripe. Red-shafted forms have a gray face, brown crown, and no nape crescent, with males showing a red mustache stripe.”

The flicker’s flight-feathers are not visible in the photo below, but you can see the male’s black mustache stripe, indicating that he is an Eastern variant. I highly recommend clicking on the image to get a closer view of the fascinating patterns in the plumage of this beautiful bird that I spotted on Wednesday at Huntley Meadows Park.

Northern Flicker

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

 

 

Read Full Post »

I do not know much about fashion, but I am pretty sure that I could not pull off wearing an outfit that combined stripes and dots. Somehow, though, the combination works well for this male Northern Flicker (Colaptes auratus) that I spotted yesterday morning at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge.  This Northern Flicker goes even further by adding a bright red crescent across the back of his head.

Unlike most other woodpeckers that are content to wear black and white and maybe a little bit of red, this Northern Flicker comes across as a bold, colorful, and stylish. I wonder why we don’t have similarly-colored penguins.

 

Northern Flicker

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

Read Full Post »

Most woodpeckers have simple patterns of red, black, and white feathers and it is sometimes difficult to tell them apart. The Northern Flicker (Colaptes auratus) outdoes them all with a dazzling combination of colors and patterns—they are pretty easy to identify.

The sky was overcast yesterday morning when I went exploring at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge. I had to play around with my camera exposures and as a result the background turned almost pure white when I photographed this male Northern Flicker that had light coming from behind him. I like the effect in this case because it helps viewers to focus on the details of the beautiful bird, including the wonderful yellow feathers that you can see in the final photo. In case you are curious, I can tell that the flicker is a male because of the black “mustache” that females do not have.

There are two distinct subspecies of flickers. The ones that we have in the North and East have a little red crescent on the back of its neck, yellow underwings, and, in the case of males, a black mustache. The western flickers have no red crescent, have red underwings, and, in the case of males, a red mustache.

Northern Flicker

Northern Flicker

Northern Flicker

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: