Photo: Brian E. Small/Vireo

Gilded Flicker

Colaptes chrysoides

In its color pattern, this bird combines some elements from both the Yellow-shafted and Red-shafted forms of Northern Flicker. However, it is slightly smaller than either, and it lives in the lowlands of the southwest -- mainly in the desert, where it nests in holes in giant saguaro cactus. In a few places, Gilded Flickers overlap in breeding range with Red-shafted Flickers at middle elevations (Sonoita Creek near Patagonia, Arizona, is one good example). In such places, the Red-shafted and Gilded flickers interbreed freely, producing a summer population that is nearly all hybrids.
Conservation status Still fairly common, but vulnerable to loss of habitat.
Family Woodpeckers
Habitat Deserts, riverside groves. Common in Sonoran desert, where it nests in holes in giant saguaro cactus. Also found in groves of cottonwoods and other trees along rivers and streams at low elevations.
In its color pattern, this bird combines some elements from both the Yellow-shafted and Red-shafted forms of Northern Flicker. However, it is slightly smaller than either, and it lives in the lowlands of the southwest -- mainly in the desert, where it nests in holes in giant saguaro cactus. In a few places, Gilded Flickers overlap in breeding range with Red-shafted Flickers at middle elevations (Sonoita Creek near Patagonia, Arizona, is one good example). In such places, the Red-shafted and Gilded flickers interbreed freely, producing a summer population that is nearly all hybrids.
Photo Gallery
  • adult male
  • adult female
  • adult male
  • adult male
Feeding Behavior

Forages by hopping on ground, climbing tree trunks and cacti, occasionally flying out to catch insects in the air.


Eggs

Usually 4-5. White. Incubation is by both sexes (with male incubating at night and part of day), about 11 days. Young: Both parents feed young, by regurgitation. Young leave nest about 4 weeks after hatching, are fed by parents at first, later following them to good foraging sites. Generally 1 brood per year.


Young

Both parents feed young, by regurgitation. Young leave nest about 4 weeks after hatching, are fed by parents at first, later following them to good foraging sites. Generally 1 brood per year.

Diet

Mostly ants and other insects. Unlike most birds (but like other flickers and several other woodpeckers), eats many ants. Also feeds on beetles, termites, caterpillars, and other insects. Eats many fruits and berries, and eats seeds and nuts at times.


Nesting

Males defend nesting territory with calling, drumming, and many aggressive displays, including swinging head back and forth, flicking wings open and spreading tail to show off bright underside. Courtship displays mostly similar. Nest site is cavity in giant cactus, tree, or post. Tree cavities usually in dead wood. Cavity excavated by both sexes, typically 6-20' above ground, sometimes higher.

Illustration © David Allen Sibley.
Learn more about these drawings.

Text © Kenn Kaufman, adapted from
Lives of North American Birds

Migration

Essentially a permanent resident, with only local movements.

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Migration

Essentially a permanent resident, with only local movements.

  • All Seasons - Common
  • All Seasons - Uncommon
  • Breeding - Common
  • Breeding - Uncommon
  • Winter - Common
  • Winter - Uncommon
  • Migration - Common
  • Migration - Uncommon
Songs and Calls
A loud, repeated woika; also a loud series of kee notes.
Audio © Lang Elliott, Bob McGuire, Kevin Colver, Martyn Stewart and others.
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How climate change could affect this bird's range

In the broadest and most detailed study of its kind, Audubon scientists have used hundreds of thousands of citizen-science observations and sophisticated climate models to predict how birds in the U.S. and Canada will react to climate change.

Learn more

Read more: climate.audubon.org
Picidae, Woodpeckers Tree-clinging Birds

Gilded Flicker

The darker the color, the more favorable the climate conditions are for survival. The outlined areas represent approximate current range for each season.

More on reading these maps.

Each map is a visual guide to where a particular bird species may find the climate conditions it needs to survive in the future. We call this the bird’s “climatic range.”

The colors indicate the season in which the bird may find suitable conditions— blue for winter, yellow for summer (breeding), and green for where they overlap (indicating their presence year-round).

The darker the shaded area, the more likely it is the bird species will find suitable climate conditions to survive there.

The outline of the approximate current range for each season remains fixed in each frame, allowing you to compare how the range will expand, contract, or shift in the future.

The first frame of the animation shows where the bird can find a suitable climate today (based on data from 2000). The next three frames predict where this bird’s suitable climate may shift in the future—one frame each for 2020, 2050, and 2080.

You can play or pause the animation with the orange button in the lower left, or select an individual frame to study by clicking on its year.

The darker the color, the more favorable the climate conditions are for survival. The outlined areas represent approximate current range for each season. More on reading these maps.
Winter
Summer

Winter Range
Summer Range
Both Seasons
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