Northern Flicker
Colaptes auratus
Dec. 16, 2012

Formerly known as the yellow-shafted flicker, the northern flicker Colaptes auratus is one of the more beautiful woodpeckers one can come across. Of course, in the east of the United States, the yellow-shafted is the only one seen. (One has to travel to the west to see the red-shafted form.)

Add "distinctive" as well as beautiful. There's no mistaking a northern flicker. (And note the two back-pointing toes, traditional in all woodpeckers.)

A flicker

Even if it is a matter of simply seeing a flicker peeking out of a nest cavity, the woodpecker is still distinctive.
Peeking flicker

Now, I'm not often given to practical matters, but following is a sequence showing an upbeat and a downbeat of a yellow-shafted flicker.
Flicker wingbeats in flight

The fun aspect of a yellow-shafted flicker is the burst of color seen when it is flying.
Flicker flash 1

And here's another color burst.
Flicker flash 2

The northern (new name) or yellow-shafted (old name) flicker is truly fun to see. I've some earlier flicker photos here.

Photo note: The photos were taken as various times between 2007 and 2012. The first three were taken with the Pentax *ist D, with the SMC 1000mm reflex lens. The last two were taken with the Pentax K20D and the Sigma 150-500mm lens.

My Pennsylvania bird list

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