Northern Flicker – "Shaft"
Size: Northern Flickers are 10-12 inches long, weigh 130 grams (slightly over 1/4 pound), and have a wingspan of 18-21 inches.
Diet: Although it is a woodpecker, the Northern Flicker feeds primarily on the ground eating ants. In winter, the diet is primarily fruits and seeds.
Lifespan: The average lifespan is believed to be about 3 years.
Reproduction: Flickers first breed around one year of age. They nest in tree cavities (either existing, or new ones excavated by both the male and female). Three to twelve eggs are laid in the unlined cavity and incubated by both parents for 12 days. Both parents care for the young, who leave the nest around one month of age.
Did You Know?
- There are two color forms of the Northern Flicker: Red-shafted and Yellow-shafted. The Yellow-shafted has a red crescent on the nape of its neck and is more common in the eastern United States. The Red-shafted is more common in the west.
- Male Northern Flickers can be distinguished from females by the presence of a ‘moustache’.
- Northern Flickers are known as the anteaters of the woodpeckers. They typically feed on the ground, digging in the soil for ants.