Gilded Flicker


Hi there! Today I am going to tell you about a really cool bird called the Gilded Flicker! It lives in the saguaro cactus forests of the Sonoran Desert. It makes its nest in the cactus by digging a hole, called a cavity. The cactus nest provides the Gilded Flicker with a cool, safe place to live. The Gilded Flicker eats insects, as well as fruits and seeds that it finds in its natural habitat. Gilded Flickers have a gray face and a red mustache. Gilded Flickers lay eggs, there is 3 to 8 eggs in a clutch, these eggs are small and white. Here is a fun fact, Gilded Flickers compete with European Sterlings for nest holes, and sometimes the Gilded Flicker does not win the competition! It has been great talking to you, but now it is time for you to explore on your own! There is so much to learn about the gilded flicker! Have fun, young explorers! Make sure to read, check out the activities, and take the quiz. I know you will be Gilded Flicker experts in no time!

I am small and I have wings, I soar high above all the other animals in the Sonoran Desert.  The desert is hot, but I cool off while flying up above the clouds. I am the Gilded flicker.  I am a large and common woodpecker of the saguaro cactus forests


I live on the saguaro cactus forests of the Sonoran Deserts.  A sharp and prickly cactus may not seem like a fun place to live to you, but to me it is home sweet home.  Almost all of my family and I live in the Southwest deserts, but I have family living in other habitats too.  My home is inside of the saguaro cactus.  I make my nest by digging a hole, called a “cavity”, inside of the cactus.  My nest provides me with a cool, dark, and safe place for my family and I to live. 

My favorite thing to eat is insects-they are delicious!  I also eat fruits and seeds that I find in my natural habitat.  I am a ground forager, which means I do my hunting and gathering mainly on the ground.  Fruit is a yummy and special treat for me.  The desert is very dry and hot, and sometimes that means fruit is hard to find!  


I have a gray face and red mustache of the "red-shafted" form of the Northern Flicker, but the yellow wings of the "yellow-shafted" form.  I am a medium to large sized woodpecker.  I am a grayish-brown color.  I am barred on top and spotted on the bottom.  I Have a beautiful black crescent on my chest.   My rump is white.  The yellow patches on my wings are obvious in flight, what a beautiful sight to see! Sometimes my younger brothers and sisters are mistaken for adults, but young Gilded Flickers have duller colors than the adults do.  


I lay eggs.  There are usually 3-8 eggs in each clutch.  The eggs that I lay are small and white.  when my eggs hatch the baby birds are naked and helpless.  


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.


Kindergarten: Find a picture of the Gilded Flicker on the Internet.  Print the picture and show it to your teacher and parents.  Tell them about all the cool facts you learned about the gilded flicker today!

1st & 2nd Grade: Use the Internet to find three images: one picture of the gilded flicker, one of the environment it lives in, and one of what it eats.  Print your pictures off the computer and paste them onto a piece of paper.  Now you have made your very own gilded flicker habitat! 

3rd Grade: Click HERE and listen to the sounds that each kind of gilded flicker makes.  Pick one of the four sounds, learn about that species of gilded flicker, and write down in two to four sentences what makes this species unique. 


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