2birdfeature #8: Yellow


Not the sharpest spoons in the crayon box but maybe some of the best looking. The Yellow-shafted Flicker (Colaptes auratus) occurs east of the Rocky Mountains, breeds in Canada, and winters in Texas and Mexico. The Red-shafted Flicker (Colaptes cafer) occurs west of the Rocky Mountains. Together, they are often grouped into a single reference, the Northern Flicker. Their geographical closeness allows for much interbreeding. They also interbreed with the Guatemalan Flicker (Colaptes mexicanoides).

The Yellow-shafted Flicker's flight feathers are bright yellow on the underside. These birds are easy to identify because of all the sure-fire markings. The red crown, the spotted breast and the black half-moon beneath the chin are among the most eye-catching.



Yellow-shafted Flickers eat ants, predominately. They'll take other insects too and berries in the winter. They are monogamous and mate for life.

Perhaps once you finally see what's making that awful and endless racket on your drain pipes and siding, you'll be a bit more lenient with this beautiful bird.


The theme is yellow today, see? Please pardon these poor quality photos of a Common Yellowthroat singing near Portland Creek, Newfoundland. It was foggy and I was lying down in a dairy pasture.



The Common Yellowthroat is a migratory warbler that breeds all over North America. They winter in Mexico and the Caribbean much like other western hemisphere warblers. They prefer to eat spiders but will take nearly any insect they can get. They are abundant throughout their range, especially in eastern Canada and New England.

The black mask that sits atop the yellow throat is found only in males. Females have a buff/tan head and an equally yellow throat.

Wednesday we escape to warmer weather with a motley crew of herons.