Species Profile: Gilded Flicker

Gilded Flicker, Colaptes chrysoides

Learn more about this species in the Peterson Reference Guide to Woodpeckers of North America.

Introduction to the species

“The Gilded Flickers are much quieter than the Gilas … They are peaceable and impress me as being eminently practical and matter of fact. Each one minds his own business and seems willing to live and let live.”
-M. F. Gilman 1915

The Gilded Flicker likes to spend its evenings perched on the highest of the Sonoran desert’s saguaros, taking in the last rays of the sun as it sets. Despite the fact that it has a recognizable “jungle cry,” this animal is quite timid and gives the spotlight at the local level to its smaller and more noisy cousin, the Gila Woodpecker. The Gilded Flicker spends most of its time on the desert floor, acting as the lizard of the local avifauna, and consuming ants and termites with its long tongue that is covered in a sticky substance. When it is not inspecting the terrain from above, the Gilded Flicker may be found. In the winter, the menu could contain some mistletoe berries or palm dates, and in the spring, the pollen from the saguaro bloom is a fan-favorite dish.

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