General Description: Brown back with black barring. The belly is light tan with prominent black spots. It has a broad black band across the chest, as well as a white rump and black tail. Two forms occur in Washington: the Red-shafted and Yellow-shafted. The Red-shafted flicker has red coloring on the wings and tail, a gray head, throat, and nape, and a brown forehead. The yellow-shafted flicker has yellow coloring on the wings and tail. The head is gray above, and the face and throat are brown.
Habitat: Woodlands, forest edges, open areas with nesting trees, and suburban environments. During non-breeding season it frequents other open areas including suburban lawns and parks, grassland, sagebrush, and sand dunes.
Behavior: Unlike most other woodpeckers, the Northern Flicker is mainly a ground feeder, but it also forages on tree trunks and limbs. It has a strong undulating flight pattern. Nests in cavities in dead or diseased pine, cottonwood, or willow trees.
Diet: Feeds principally on ants but also eats other insects and some fruit, seeds, and berries.
Range in North America: Found throughout the continent.
When to See in Washington: Common and widespread, it breeds across most of the state, especially in residential areas, city parks, and gardens. In fall, it concentrates in the lowlands on both sides of the Cascades.