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Posts Tagged ‘Northern Flicker’

Northern Flickers (Colaptes auratus) have very distinctive patterns and colors, but in the early morning light this one blended in well with the bark and branches of the tree on which it was perched earlier this week at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge.

I was able to detect the bird’s presence only when it moved its head a bit from side to side. Some of my friends are able to spot birds in the trees on the basis of their shapes, but for the most part I need some movement to be able to do so.

Northern Flicker

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

 

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Northern Flickers (Colaptes auratus), the most colorful woodpeckers in our area, prefer to eat ants and other insects. Now that the weather had gotten colder and insects are scarcer, they have switched their diet to include more berries and seeds.

Earlier this week I spotted this male Northern Flicker (males have moustaches and females do not) foraging among the clumps of poison ivy berries in a tree at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge. The photos give you a sense of the wonderful colors and patterns on the body of this incredible bird.

I didn’t get to see the insides of the wings of this particular flicker, but Northern Flickers on the East Coast have beautiful yellow-shafted feathers on the underside of their wings and tails. On the West Coast, Northern Flickers have red moustaches and red shafts on the underside of their wings and tails.

Northern Flicker

Northern Flicker

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

 

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Unlike most other woodpeckers, Northern Flickers (Colaptes auratus) like to spend a lot of time on the ground, which makes it tough to get a clear shot of one. According to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology website, “Although it can climb up the trunks of trees and hammer on wood like other woodpeckers, the Northern Flicker prefers to find food on the ground. Ants are its main food, and the flicker digs in the dirt to find them. It uses its long barbed tongue to lap up the ants.”

When I spotted this male Northern Flicker—females don’t have the black mustache stripe—last weekend at Huntley Meadows Park, it was perched horizontally on a fallen tree, which gave me a clear view of its beautiful colors and patterns. Other woodpeckers, which are mostly black and white, seem drab by comparison. For the first time ever, I was also able to see the downward curve of its bill that I had seen described in birding identification guides.

This bird remained still for only a moment and then seemed to fade away into the background.

Northern Flicker

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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As I was looking over some images from a few weeks ago searching for one to share, I came upon this shot of a Northern Flicker (Colaptes auratus) that really highlights its beautiful colors and patterns, even from a distance.

Northern Flicker

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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I observed this female Northern Flicker (Colaptes auratus) for quite some time yesterday, but had a difficult time getting a clear shot as she dug about in the undergrowth.

The Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology notes that this type of woodpecker is unusual in that it spends a lot of its time on the ground, digging in the dirt for ants and beetles. I love the coloration of the Northern Flicker and you can tell that this one is a female, because she is lacking the mustache stripe under her eye.

I didn’t manage to capture her entire body in the shot, but I like the way that she seems to emerge from the colorful underbrush.

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Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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Against the backdrop of a frozen pond with a dusting of snow, the colors of this male Northern Flicker (Colaptes auratus) stood out even more brightly than usual yesterday morning. The flicker is perched on a rotted stump that is poking out of the beaver pond at my local marshland park.

I love the colors and the markings on this beautiful bird, who seems to be making a fashion statement by mixing stripes and polka dots and accenting the ensemble with touches of bright colors.

flicker1_blog

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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