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NORTHERN FLICKER

Northern Flicker

Flickers are the most abundant woodpeckers in North America. This species and mourning doves are the only birds which nest in the 49 continental U.S. states. After ivory-billed and pileated woodpeckers, flickers are the largest woodpeckers in the United States. The different races can vary in size from 92 to 193 grams. One population once considered a race of Northern flicker is now considered as a separate species, the gilded flicker. The Eastern form has yellow under their wings and a black stripe near their mouths. There are more than 100 local names for flickers.

Flickers usually inhabit open areas and edge habitats. Depending on where they live, they can spend between twelve and seventy-five percent of their time on the ground. Ants compose about 75% of their diet and the Northern flicker eats more ants than any other North American bird. In one study of flicker stomachs, 20% contained nothing but ants and one contained 5,000 ants (Backhouse, 2005). If necessary, flickers can survive only on plant material in winter. They can stretch their tongues three inches past the tips of their beaks. During summer they eat ants and wild bayberries while in winter they eat bayberry and poison ivy fruits (Winkler 1995; Short, 1982).

In winter, flickers may make holes in vacant buildings and winter there. Parents can regurgitate food for their young. Multiple females may share a nest (Winkler 1995; Short, 1982).

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NORTHERN FLICKER NORTHERN FLICKER
NORTHERN FLICKER NORTHERN FLICKER
NORTHERN FLICKER NORTHERN FLICKER