Northern Flicker
(Yellow-Shafted Flicker)
Colaptes auratus
Oct. 2006/Dec. 2012

The yellow-shafted flicker is a woodpecker with highly distinctive marking, as well as one of those birds that has had a name change. Formerly divided between yellow-shafted and red-shafted, the two types are now lumped together as the northern flicker Colaptes auratus.

For instance, if you were to look up and see something like the following photo, you could conclude that either an alien has landed or . . .

Flicker from below
You were watching a yellow-shafted flicker.

Both male and female flickers have a red patch on the back of the neck, and in addition, a male has a mustache. So the fellow below is a mister.

Yellow-shafted flicker
  In flight, a flicker flashes a lot of yellow, either above or below the wing.
Flicker in flight
  Another distinctive characteristic of a flicker in flight is the white patch on the rump.

Update: In 2012, I had an almost identical photo to the above but much clearer, but oddly enough the white patch on the flicker's rump is not particularly visible.

Another flicker in flight
  On the other hand, in 2007, I had perhaps a "definitive" photo of the white patch on a flicker's rump.
White rump of a flicker in flight

Although there is a second flicker in the photo, I perhaps should have cleaned it up a little more (to compensate for the out-of-focus part).

Note that I've more fun flicker photos here.

Photo note: I used a Pentax *ist D, with the SMC 1000mm reflex lens for these photos. The first was taken during spring 2006; the second two are from October 2006. The last photo was taken with the same lens and camera in 2007; the 2012 photo was with the Pentax K20D and the Sigma 150-500mm lens.

My Pennsylvania bird list

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