Gilded Flicker, Colaptes chrysoides: The Gilded Flicker is a common bird that is named for the golden color of its underwings and yellow tail-base and makes its home in aouthwestern desert woodlands frequenting the large saguaros of Arizona and the Cardón cacti of Baja California.
They have a cinnamon cap, gray throat, chin and face, a black bill, a pale brown back with black barring, barred brown wings and shoulders, tan underparts with large black spots, and a black tail.
The male Gilded Flicker can be distinguished from the female by the presence of a red mustache.
Gilded Flickers are a member of the Picidae or Woodpecker Family. They range in size from 10.5 to 12 inches, have wing spans of up to 18 inches and weigh between 100 and 110 grams.
Within Mexico they are not easily confused with other bird species due to the abundant black spots on the undersides.
The Gilded Flicker has a limited range being found only in southern Arizona, throughout Baja with the exception of the coastal regions between Tijuana and Guerrero Negro, and along the west coast of the Mexican mainland south to Mazatlan.
They are non-migratory birds, found as solitary individuals or in pairs. They spend much time foraging on the ground probing anthills and also eat insects, fruits, wild berries and cactus fruits. They dig huge cavities in giant cacti, cottonwoods or other deciduous trees, which they use for nests without additional nesting materials. These cavities in turn provide homes for other birds (including small owls), bats, other mammals and reptiles. The cavities are dug out by both sexes, well above the ground.
The females lay an average of 3 to 5 one-inch oval to elliptical white eggs which are incubated by both sexes for two weeks. The chicks are born helpless, without an abundance of down, and remain in the nest for four weeks. They have one or two broods per year.
The call of the Gilded Flicker is a high long drawn out descending "kleee-yer" and a territorial "wick wick wick." They are considered to be of “Least Concern” with populations on the increase in southern Arizona.