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Gilded Flicker

Silhouette WoodpeckersWoodpeckers
Gilded FlickerColaptes chrysoides
  • ORDER: Piciformes
  • FAMILY: Picidae

Basic Description

In the thorny, sun-baked Sonoran Desert, Gilded Flickers perch high above the ground on the sturdy limbs of giant saguaro or Mexican giant cardon cactus. These desert relatives of the slightly larger Northern Flicker have yellow underwings and a bright cinnamon crown. Their calls ring across the desert in the early morning. Though these woodpeckers are tightly tied to giant cactus for nesting, they forage mainly on the ground, using their long tongues to pull ants from underground colonies.

More ID Info
image of range map for Gilded Flicker
Range map provided by Birds of the World
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Find This Bird

Look for Gilded Flickers among giant saguaro and giant cardon cactus in the Sonoran Desert of the southwestern U.S. through Baja California, Mexico, up to about 3,200 feet elevation. Be aware that Northern Flickers occur here as well; Gilded is much less tolerant of disturbance, so head out into the desert on a cool morning to find them. With any flicker you see, look for Gilded’s yellow underwing tones, cinnamon crown, paler (and less strongly barred) back, and more crescent-shaped spots on the belly.

Other Names

  • Carpintero Californiano (Spanish)
  • Pic chrysoïde (French)
  • Cool Facts