This female Northern Flicker is waiting coyly.

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Male Flickers are now challenging each other to duels: they sit within feet of each other, growl, and swish their beaks up, down, and around like fencers warming up; but, they don’t strike. They also will show their rivals (and, later, potential mates) a naughty flash of their brightly-colored feather shafts – but just a “flicker.” (Guess how they got their name.)

Male Flickers have black mustaches; females are clean shaven.  Both sexes spend as much time pecking dirt as pecking wood, since their favorite food is ants. Here's a male:


There are two major subspecies of Norther Flicker: the yellow-shafted (East) and red-shafted (West), with interbreeding by less fashionable Flickers in between. (Brooklin, Maine)

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