Gilded Flicker

Gilded Flickers are large woodpeckers of the desert.

Male Gilded Flickers have distinctive tan crowns, gray faces with a red mustache stripe, and black bibs around the neck. Their bodies are light brown and gray with spots on the underside and barring on their backs and wings. They have yellow underwings that are visible in flight.

Females are similar to males. They have tan crowns, gray cheeks, and throats but without the bright-red mustache stripes. They also have barred backs, wings, and tails, and spotted underparts.

  • Colaptes chrysoides
  • Length: 11.0 in (28 cm)
  • Weight: 3.3 – 4.5 oz (92 – 129 g)
  • Wingspan: 19.7 – 20.5 in (50 – 52 cm)


Gilded Flickers do not migrate, and they range from southern Nevada, California, Arizona, Mexico, and Baja California.  

Habitat And Diet

You can find Gilded Flickers in deserts and riverside groves. They are particularly common in the Sonoran Desert where plenty of giant saguaro cacti live as these serve as their nesting habitats.

Gilded Flickers primarily feast on ants and their larvae which they often pick off from the ground. They also eat other insects like beetles and in winter, when insects are scarce, they eat fruits and seeds of large cacti.

Gilded Flicker Call:


Nests of Gilded Flickers are normally excavated holes in giant cacti like the saguaro, or in cottonwood or willow trees and these are usually six to twenty feet above the ground. There are no other materials added to the nest.

Both adults excavate the cavity and then the female lays three to five eggs in it. Both parents incubate their eggs for about eleven to twelve days. They feed their young by regurgitation.

Fun Fact:

Gilded Flickers were once considered a subspecies of the Northern Flickers but no longer. Gilded Flickers have yellow underwings while Northern Flickers have red.