Northern Flicker

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This female Yellow-shafted Northern Flicker was displaying on Black Swamp Bird Observatory’s Window on Wildlife last spring.

Flickers are fairly large woodpeckers with a slim, rounded head, slightly downcurved bill, and long, flared tail that tapers to a point. Northern Flickers spend lots of time on the ground. They fly in an up-and-down path using heavy flaps interspersed with glides, like many woodpeckers.

Early in spring and summer, rivals may face off in a display sometimes called a “fencing duel,” while a prospective mate looks on. Two birds face each other (or in this instance, one Flicker watching their reflection!) on a branch, bills pointed upward, and bob their heads in time while drawing a loop or figure-eight pattern in the air, often giving rhythmic wicka calls at the same time.

Information obtained by The Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

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