Click on photos to enlarge – Â© 2007 jim otterstrom
The gorgeously cloaked Northern (Red-Shafted) Flicker (Colaptus auratus cafer)!!!
This western variant of the Northern Flicker is one of the most common birds in Big Bear Valley, residing here year ’round. The male is the one in the lower photo with the handsome red mustache (malar), but the lovely female isn’t hard on the eyes either.
They aren’t called “red-shafted” because of the mustache though. That designation comes from the color of the feathers lining their wings and tail, which are red or orange in the western variety, and yellow in the “yellow-shafted” northern and eastern form (the male and female of the Yellow-Shafted form have a red crescent on the back of the head and the male has a black mustache).
In the deserts of Arizona, California, and Baja California, there is another variety known as the Gilded Flicker which has the head of a Red-Shafted (no red-crescent and a red mustache on the males) and the body of a Yellow-Shafted (yellow feathers lining the wings and tail).
I’ve posted pictures of Red-Shafted Flickers previously but these two were hanging around the birdbaths and suet cages today, begging to be photographed, and I was more than happy to oblige.