It is always thrilling to see these beautiful woodpeckers as they arrive in our area for the winter (it is one of the few North American woodpeckers that is migratory). 

This particular bird was unable to fly and was rescued and brought to the Wildlife Center of Texas. The northern flicker has several subspecies.  The bird shown here is from the yellow-shafted group and inhabits the far north and the east (the red-shafted is found in the west). 

These pictures give us a great opportunity to observe some of the birds distinguishing marks (Double click the photo to see a larger version).  The back and top of the wings are brown and barred with black.  They have spotted under parts, and a black crescent bib.  The yellow shafted flicker has yellow undersurfaces of the wings and tail (the red shafted has red).  It has a tan face with a red crescent on the nape. 

The bird that was brought to the Wildlife Center is a male because it has a black malar (moustache) stripe (red-shafted males have a red malar stripe) females lack the stripe.  Flickers are fun to watch as they prefer to spend their time hoping around on the ground searching for ants (their favorite) and other insects.  It also will eat fruits and berries.  Many migrating birds winter on the gulf coast so keep those bird feeders full of a variety of seeds, nuts and fruits.

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