Confused about Flickers
We are trying to figure out what some bird visitors are in our yard. Have found pictures - some say Yellow Hammer and some say Northern Flicker. We are in mid western Alabama. Several sites list these names interchangeably but birds look very different. We have both the pictured birds but am confused about the ambiguous identity. Can you help? Info says yellow hammer is AL state bird but show a small bunting type bird. But then you see a Woodpecker type named the same ?
Rhonda, there are two distinct groups of Northern Flickers; the yellow-shafted (yellowhammer) and the Red-shafted. The Red-shafted is most common in the West.
The yellow-shafted has yellow lining under its wings, that is noticeable in flight, and a gray crown, tan face, with a red patch on the back of its head.
The red-shafted has a brown crown, grey face, with no red patch. It does have a red mustache whereas the yellow-shafted has a black mustache.
Here is a photo of each that readers have sent in;Yellow-shafted FlickerRed-shafted Flicker
Hope that helps.