The northern flicker is an unusual woodpecker in that it spends much of its time foraging for food, primarily ants and beetles, on the ground rather than in trees. Their bills are not the typical strong, straight chisels of other woodpeckers, but slightly curved and pointed, which is a better tool for probing crevices more efficiently.
Like other woodpeckers, however, they do excavate their own nest cavities in trees.
Look for flickers in semi-open areas and along roads in forested areas. They are often seen along gravel roads, where ants are common. As you approach them, they will flush off the road edge showing a white rump patch. They are relatively common in the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area, but their populations may be declining across their North American range.
Last updated: September 28, 2021