This week’s photo, taken May 20, 2013 at Magnuson Park in Seattle, WA, features a male NORTHERN FLICKER, the most common woodpecker in the Seattle area.
Although we often find woodpeckers velcroed to tree trunks, it’s not unusual to spot a NORTHERN FLICKER on the ground. Ground-dwelling flickers may be feasting on ants, since ants make up about 50% of a flicker’s diet.
Differentiating a male flicker from a female is easy, if you are close enough to see the bird’s face. Western (red-shafted) males have a red “mustache,” and eastern (yellow-shafted) flickers have black mustaches. Female flickers, of course, do not have mustaches. In a perfect world, the males of all bird species would sport mustaches, and bird-watchers around the globe would no longer struggle to separate the sexes.