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Flicker, Colaptes auratus
Photo © 2005 Jim Jung and licensors.
All rights reserved.

Flickers

Colaptes auratus

Flickers, while uncharacteristic in many ways among the Woodpecker clan, are cavity nesters like other Woodpeckers. They either excavate a new nest hole in a rotten tree limb or reuse cavities created by other woodland critters. They can also be attracted to specially designed nesting boxes.

For best results these boxes should have a two inch oval hole near the top of the box, be at least a foot deep, be constructed of two by tens and the box should be solidly packed with sawdust and/or wood shavings. This allows the Flickers the satisfaction of excavating their nest themselves.

Flickers are the woodpecker most commonly seen in urban environments and unlike their brain rattling relations who make their living excavating and then prying grubs and other insect larvae out of trees, Flickers prefer a diet consisting of ants. As a result they're often seen on sidewalks, driveways and bare ground picking off foraging individuals as they pass by.


  • Mark Twain National Wildlife Refuge's Flicker Nest Box Follow the link to the crafts page for general instructions on construction and upkeep.
  • Northern Flicker
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The information on this page is tailored to Southern Illinois, Southwest Indiana, Western Kentucky, and Southeast Missouri

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