Northern Flickers are large, brown woodpeckers with a gentle expression and handsome black-scalloped plumage. Don’t be surprised if you scare one up from the ground.
The Northern Flicker Woodpecker has brown and tan coloring rather than the distinctive black and white of the Pileated and Downy woodpeckers of North America. Their backs are brown with some black barring and white underneath, but do have flashes of bright colors under their wings when expanded.
There are two different breeds throughout North America, one being the Yellow-shafted Flicker in the east and north, and the red-shafted Flicker in the west. They were once considered to be separate species completely, but have bred where their ranges overlap, integrating the species.
Living in most open-wooded and wetland areas of North America, the Northern Flicker Woodpecker feeds low to the ground, eating insects and foraging on tree trunks and limbs. Even though they can hammer on wood like any other woodpecker, their feeding style is another way that sets them apart from other North American woodpeckers.