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Gilded Flicker


IUCN Conservation Status: Least Concern

A large and common woodpecker of the saguaro cactus forests of the Sonoran Desert, the Gilded Flicker has the gray face and red mustache of the "red-shafted" form of the Northern Flicker, but the yellow wings of the "yellow-shafted" form.

At a GlanceHelp

Both Sexes
11 in
28 cm
18.9 in
48 cm
3.2–4.6 oz
92–129 g
Other Names
  • Pic chrysolïde (French)
  • Carpintero aliamarillo, Carpintero de alas amarillas (Spanish)

Cool Facts

  • A study reported that European Starlings had no effect on the nesting success of the Gilded Flicker in saguaro cactus, even though the two birds compete for nest holes. Starlings did negatively affect the Gila Woodpecker, perhaps because they were able to displace the smaller woodpecker. The larger and more aggressive Gilded Flicker may have been better able to compete for holes.
  • In the 1960s, taxonomists grouped the Gilded Flicker with the Red-shafted and Yellow-shafted flickers as a single species, the Northern Flicker, in recognition of the extensive interbreeding of the forms. The limited hybridization of the Gilded Flicker with the other forms, especially in light of their widespread hybrid zone, was the basis for the later change to recognize the Gilded Flicker as its own species.
  • The oldest recorded Gilded Flicker was at least 6 years, 4 months old and lived in Arizona.



Strongly associated with, but not completely restricted to, giant cactus forests of southwestern deserts.



Insects, primarily ants. Also fruits and seeds.


Nesting Facts
Clutch Size
3–8 eggs
Egg Description
Condition at Hatching
Naked and helpless.
Nest Description

Digs hole in saguaro cactus. Cavity unlined.

Nest Placement



Ground Forager

Forages primarily on ground.


status via IUCN

Least Concern

Gilded Flicker populations appear to have declined between 1966 and 2014, according to the North American Breeding Bird Survey. Partners in Flight estimates a global breeding population of 600,000, with 40% living in the U.S., and 60% in Mexico. The species rates a 14 out of 20 on the Continental Concern Score, and are on the 2014 State of the Birds Watch List, which lists bird species that are at risk of becoming threatened or endangered without conservation action.


Range Map Help

Gilded Flicker Range Map
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