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Gilded Flicker

Colaptes chrysoides

The Gilded Flicker, Colaptes chrysoides, is a striking woodpecker of considerable size, averaging 29 cm (11 in) in length. It graces the desert landscapes of the southwestern United States and northwestern Mexico with its presence. A notable feature setting it apart from its close relatives is the vibrant yellow hue under its wings, a contrast to the red underwings of the Northern Flicker with which it shares its range.

Identification Tips

To identify the Gilded Flicker, look for the characteristic yellow underwing as the bird takes flight. The male can be distinguished by a black malar stripe, while both sexes exhibit a barred back and spotted belly, typical of the genus Colaptes.

Habitat

The Gilded Flicker shows a strong preference for nesting in the iconic saguaro cactus, often choosing a site closer to the top than the ground. It can also be found in desert washes where cottonwood or willow trees provide alternative nesting opportunities.

Distribution

This bird is endemic to the Sonoran, Yuma, and eastern Colorado Desert regions, extending its range through all of Baja California, save for the extreme northwest. Its distribution also includes parts of southeastern California, Arizona, and northwestern Mexico.

Behaviour

The Gilded Flicker is known to excavate nesting cavities in saguaros a year in advance, allowing the cactus to form a protective "boot" of hardened sap. It may occasionally hybridize with the Northern Flicker where their habitats overlap.

Breeding

Breeding biology of the Gilded Flicker is not well-documented, but nesting is known to commence in early April in the United States. Pair bonds are formed for the duration of the breeding season.

Similar Species

The Northern Flicker is the most similar species within its range, distinguishable by its red underwings compared to the yellow of the Gilded Flicker. Hybridization can occur, making identification in overlap zones more challenging.

Diet and Feeding

Ants form the bulk of the Gilded Flicker's diet, supplemented by other insects such as beetles and termites. It forages primarily on the ground, employing its tongue to probe anthills or picking up insects directly. Fruits and berries are also consumed.

Conservation status

The Gilded Flicker is currently classified as Least Concern by the IUCN and is considered Secure by NatureServe, indicating a stable population without immediate threats to its survival.

Gilded Flicker Sounds



Recorded by: © 
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