Gilded Flicker

Colaptes chrysoides
Range Map

The Gilded Flicker has a nearly identical range as the Gila Woodpecker, which is southern Arizona’s Sonoran desert, into Mexico’s west coast and Baja California.

This bird could be confused with the Northern Flicker, but when seeing the underside of the bird’s wings, the differences are obvious. The Gilded Flicker’s yellow feather shafts contrast with the Northern Flicker’s red ones (the Red-Shafted Northern Flicker is. expected here, not the Yellow-Shafted). Further, the Gilded Flicker makes its home where Saguaro Cacti are near, where the Northern Flicker nests in riparian trees and rarely (if ever) use the cactus for nesting.

Despite their limited range and non-migratory lifestyle, taxonomists recognise four subspecies of Gilded Flicker:

  • C. c. chrysoides lives in southern Baja California (Mexico).
  • C. c. brunnescens lives in northern and central Baja California (Mexico).
  • C. c. mearnsi lives in southeastern California in the Colorado Valley and central southern Arizona to northern Sonora (Mexico).
  • C. c. tenebrosus lives northwestern mainland Mexico.

My experience with this species is limited to a single encounter while I visited Agua Caliente Park in eastern Tucson (Arizona). It was late November 2008, and I wasn’t sure about the bird’s identity at the time I took the pictures, and the meeting was brief. After reviewing the pictures, I realised I’d met a female Gilded Flicker. I look forward with hope to meet this species again someday.

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