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Northern Flicker Male | by Don Delaney
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Northern Flicker Male

The wing lining on this one doesn't look distinctly red or yellow.The Yellow-shafted Flickers and Red-shafted Flickers that breed here are considered to be subspecies of the Northern Flicker. According to "The Atlas of Breeding Birds of Alberta", the Yellow-shafted Flicker breeds in most parts of the province except in the mountain regions of the southwest where the Red-shafted Flicker occurs. Interbreeding is common with hybrids (intergrades) found to the BC border. Very few of "pure" Red-shafted Flickers are found in the province now.


The more distinct examples of the subspecies are identified by the presence of yellow under the tail and wing linings (Yellow-shafted) or red under the tail and wing linings (Red-shafted)


The male Red-shafted has a red malar and no red at the nape of the neck. Their crowns are more brown than gray. The male Yellow-shafted has a black malar (mustache) and a red crescent on the nape of the neck.


In Alberta, the subspecies interbreed so frequently that various combinations of these characteristics can occur.


I think the main shot in this posting is one such combination.


I added shots of more pure examples of each subspecies in the comment box. Both of these were posted awhile back


Northern Flicker works for all.


Hawrelak Park Edmonton. September 15, 2010.


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Taken on September 15, 2010