All northern flickers show a bold black chest crescent, a white rump, and bright color (salmon-red or yellow) of their flight feathers. They are pale to rich buffy white below with black spotting. They have brown to grey-brown backs with black barring. Adult sexes are similar, but males have a malar mark (red in the to red-shafted, to black in the to yellow-shafted to ) that is lacking in females. They have a slim, rounded head,and long, flared tail that tapers to a point. Their length is 32cm(12in).

Habitat and Distribution

They are found widely in open woodlands, parklands, suburban areas, riparian and montane forests. Northern populations of Yellow-shafted Flickers and northern interior Red-shafteds are highly migratory.


They eat mainly ants and beetles, digging for them with their unusual, slightly curved bill.


Their breeding habitat consists of forested areas across North America and as far south as Central America. They are cavity nesters who typically nest in trees but they will also use posts and birdhouses if sized and situated appropriately. They prefer to excavate their own home although they will reuse and repair damaged or abandoned nests. It takes about 1 to 2 weeks to build the nest which is built by both sexes of the mating pairs. The entrance hole is roughly 5 to 10 cm (2.0 to 3.9 in) wide. A typical clutch consists of 6 to 8 eggs whose shells are pure white with a smooth surface and high gloss. The eggs are the second largest of the North American woodpecker species, exceeded only by the Pileated Woodpecker's. Incubation is by both sexes for approximately 11 to 12 days. The young are fed by regurgitation and fledge about 25 to 28 days after hatching.

Calls and Songs

Flight call - soft, rolling wirrr or whurdle . They also give a piercing, descending klee-yer or keeew is given year-round. Interacting birds give a soft, slow wick-a wick-a wicka call.