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ABA Photo Quiz

ABA Online Bird Photo Quiz 32

Answer

Bird Photo

Nearly everyone who answered this quiz recognized that this was a flicker. Depending on how long you've been birding, you may remember when there were three species of flickers in the ABA area, or when there was only one. Now the AOU and ABA recognize two species: Gilded Flicker and Northern Flicker.

The Northern Flicker is a variable species with several subspecies that fall into two well-defined subspecies groups, Red-shafted Flicker and Yellow-shafted Flicker. These two subspecies groups interbreed widely in the Great Plains; and their offspring, as well as their offspring's offspring, are exceedingly variable.

Even with a cursory view of this bird, we can tell that it isn't right for the Yellow-shafted group of Northern Flickers. Male Yellow-shafted Flickers have a black malar, while females have a uniform brown face. But, the underside of this bird's tail is also not red, as we would expect with the Red-shafted group of Northern Flickers.

This may have us thinking about Gilded Flicker, of which males have a red malar and yellowish underwing and tail base. Looking more closely at the red malar, however, we see that it is shorter than we would expect on Gilded Flicker. Furthermore, the spots on the flanks are very round, not oval or bar shaped as on Gilded Flicker. Looking closely at the crown, we see that gray coloring creeps up onto at least the sides of the crown behind the eye. On Gilded Flicker the crown and nape are uniformly brown, and the underside of the tail is more orange than yellow in color.

This leaves us with an intergrade Red-shafted x Yellow-shafted Flicker (intergrades occur between subspecies, hybrids between species), or more simply a Northern Flicker. Intergrades are quite variable and some may approach Gilded Flicker in appearance. Most intergrades show at least some of the features on this bird-intermediate shaft and tail color, intermediate crown and nape pattern, intermediate or "wrong" face pattern.

This Northern Flicker was photographed by the author at Leoti, Kansas in late December 2004.

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The following people (listed by submission date beginning with the earliest) submitted correct answers for the November Bird Photo Quiz—Northern Flicker:

  1. Tony Clements, Vienna, VA
  2. Kyle Horner, Guelph, Ontario
  3. Kyle Carlsen, Vincent, OH
  4. Debbie Statz, Greenville, NC
  5. Kevin Hill, Seattle, WA
  6. Lori Fujimoto, Colorado Springs, CO
  7. Maria Fowler, Glendale, AZ
  8. Ali Rodgers, Corrales, NM
  9. Tracy McCarthey, Tempe, Arizona
  10. Kevin Kerr, Guelph, Ont
  11. Stephen Joly, Kamloops, BC
  12. David Hollie, Ringgold, GA
  13. Robert Furrow, Cambridge, MA
  14. Chad Soard, cincinnati, ohio
  15. Matt Anthony, Bel Air, Maryland
  16. Ryan Dudragne, Saskatoon, SK
  17. David M. Liebers, Niskayuna, NY
  18. Jim Kopitzke, Mesa AZ
  19. Alex Vinokur, Casselberry, FL
  20. Maggie MacPherson, Guelph, Ontario
  21. Mary Chambers, Davis, CA
  22. Don Burt, Anaheim, CA
  23. Rich Swartzentruber, Salem, Oregon
  24. Thomas Lally, Chicago, IL
  25. Bertram.E.B.Bree, Jersey island, Channel Isles near France
  26. Larry Ridenhour, Boise, Idaho
  27. Bill Maynard, Colorado Springs, CO
  28. John Kuenzli, Columbus, OH
  29. Will Richardson, Truckee, CA
  30. Jacob Saucier, Baton Rouge, LA
  31. Philip Kline, Tucson, AZ
  32. Richard Garrigues, San Antonio de Belen, Heredia, Costa Rica
  33. Kai Reed, North Egremont, MA
  34. Louie Toth, Fairview Hgts IL
  35. Lee Barnes, Seattle, WA
  36. Sean Prockter, Waterville, ME
  37. Bruce Dugger, Albany, OR
  38. Carol Perry, Las Vegas, NV
  39. Marc Ribaudo, Woodbridge, VA
  40. Robin LaFortune, Delano, MN
  41. Gary Bird, Maxeys, GA
  42. Melissa Hein, North Branch, MN
  43. Nick Sly, Ithaca, NY
  44. Travis Rosenberry, Boise, Idaho
  45. Casey Tucker, Columbus, OH
  46. Manuel Grosselet, Mexico
  47. Lauren Tompkins, Kneeland, CA
  48. Jared Caster, NEW YORK
  49. Luke Seitz, Falmouth, Maine
  50. Enrique Zamora, Ensenada, Baja California
  51. Eric Skrzypczak, Gaithersburg, MD
  52. Mark Brown, Dalmatia, Pennsylvania
  53. rob young, alexandria, VA
  54. Claude Girard, St-Michel. P.Q.
  55. Luke Buckardt, Deerfield, IL
  56. Sarge Salman, Fort Collins, CO
  57. Chuck Carlson, Fort Peck MT
  58. Marcelo Brongo, Barcelona, Spain
  59. Wayne Meyer, Denison, TX
  60. Thomas Riecke, Dallas, TX
  61. John Bissell, Grimes, Iowa
  62. Steve Scholnick, St Louis, MO
  63. Aaron Hulsey, Smiths Grove, Ky
  64. Brad Wilkinson, Tallmadge, Ohio
  65. Ronald P.Ciejka, Three Rivers Ma
  66. Aaron Brees, Des Moines, IA
  67. Gail King, Brandon, FL
  68. Al Mercer, Marietta, GA
  69. Nels F. Thompson, Owatonna, MN
  70. Jim Gilbert, Bernardsville, NJ
  71. George Cresswell, Colorado Springs, Colorado
  72. Brian E. Small, Los Angeles, CA
  73. Jim Hoover, Jefferson Hills, PA
  74. Marcia Huff, Holland, MI
  75. TJ Hathcock, Cleveland, OK
  76. Nick Anich, Ashland, WI
  77. Alan J. Knue, Seattle, WA
  78. Cynthia Plank, Portland, Oregon
  79. Gabe Johnson, Cherry Hill, New Jersey
  80. Betsy Beneke, Perry, Utah
  81. Larry Kline, Woodbridge, VA
  82. Jason Giovannone, Columbia, SC
  83. Arun Bose, Richmond, VA
  84. Michael S. Levy, Centereach, N.Y.
  85. Mark Stevenson, Tucson, AZ
  86. guthrie andres, washington ct
  87. Daniele Mitchell, Ottawa, Ontario
  88. Yvonne Buszek, Commerce Twp, MI
  89. Gary W. Potter, Sanger, California
  90. Christiana Wood, Suitland, MD
  91. Krista S., Albuquerque, NM
  92. Daniel Floyd, Fort Worth, TX
  93. Christopher Colby, York, PA
  94. Linda McElvany, Williston, Vermont
  95. Anthony H. Bledsoe, Pittsburgh, PA
  96. Peter Dedicoat, Stafford, UK
  97. Connie Kogler, CO
  98. Will Miller, boise,ID
  99. David Woodson, Livingston, TX
  100. Roberto Cavalieros, Brooklyn, NY
  101. liz day, indy, IN
  102. Sherry Punak-Murphy, Shilo, Manitoba, Canada
  103. John Kuenzli, Columbus, OH
  104. Zack Barrow, McDonald, TN
  105. Larry Lade, Saint Joseph, MO
  106. Jess, Sanford, NC
  107. Andre Moncrieff, Berrien Springs, MI
  108. Andy Bankert, Melbourne Beach, FL
  109. Liis Veelma, Winnipeg, MB
  110. Nikolas Kotovich, Great Barrington, Mass
  111. Tom Dozet, Reno, NV
  112. Jim Hulsey, Henderson, NV
  113. Jim Wood, Saskatoon, SK
  114. Manolo Mondejar, Taos,NM
  115. Jacob Socolar, Chapel Hill, NC
  116. Matthew Schneider, Silverton, OR
  117. Katherine Raspet, NY
  118. gerard koehn, colorado springs colorado
  119. Michael Hilchey, ABQ, NM
  120. Andrés Alfaro, Kansas City, MO
  121. Olivier Barden, Quebec City, Qc
  122. Steven Mitten, Belize City, Belize
  123. crystal malick, dalmatia,pa
  124. Tammy White, Aliso Viejo, CA
  125. Nathan Miller, Kingston, On
  126. Kevin M Kincaid, Indianapolis, IN
  127. Francisco Martinez, Chicago, IL
  128. Andrew Keaveney, Guelph, Ontario
  129. Carolyn Vance, Los Alamitos, CA
  130. Jill Kaminski, Naples, FL
  131. Graham Etherington, Norwich, UK
  132. Vicky Townsend, Alexandria, MN
  133. Toni Wolfson, Scotts Valley, Ca
  134. alice jackson, columbus, OH
  135. Mick Brown, Middleburg, PA
  136. Benjamin S. Wechsler, Snow Hill, Maryland
  137. Tim Snieder, Sarnia, Ontario
  138. David S Crowe, Charlotte, NC
  139. Francesc Jutglar, Cardedeu, Spain
  140. Sarah DeViney, Jonesboro, AR
  141. Petro Pynnönen, Helsinki, Finland
  142. Roxanne Clark, Eugene, OR
  143. James McKay, Mesa, AZ
  144. Phillip J. Kenny, Vienna, VA
  145. Patricia Topp, HIghland, Indiana
  146. Oscar Johnson, Santa Barbara, California
  147. José Luis Copete, Barcelona, Spain
  148. DanWalker, Canyon, Texas
  149. Robert Lengacher, Tallahassee, FL
  150. Jennie MacFarland, Tucson, AZ
  151. Stefan Calabria, Northfield, MA
  152. Chris Warren, Fort Collins, Colorado
  153. Karen Carlsen, Lakewood, CO
  154. Ben Coulter, Erie, PA
  155. John Habig, Carlsile, OH
  156. James McRacken, Stanley, NC
  157. Amanda Auger, Portland, Oregon
  158. Dean Nicholson, Cranbrook, B.C.
  159. Tim Perry, Patchogue
  160. Melissa Wilder, Apopka, FL
  161. Joan Campbell, Marinette, WI
  162. Carrie Braden, Portage la Prairie, MB
  163. Sam Naifeh, San Mateo CA
  164. Vincent Koczurik, Jersey City, NJ
  165. Jennifer Michaels, Tucker, GA
  166. Joan Weber, Mason,IL
  167. Bobby Fokidis, Tempe, Arizona
  168. Kendall Green, Brooklyn, NY
  169. Rachel King, Brooklyn NY
  170. Ken Hardy, Colorado Springs
  171. Larry Usselman, Harrisburg, PA
  172. Barb Robertson, Ottawa, Ontario Canada
  173. Cara Ondra, Berlin, WI
  174. Wayne McBride, Ukiah, CA
  175. Craig Swanson, Benton City, WA
  176. John Anderson, Reno, Nevada
  177. William Haffey, Norwalk, Connecticut
  178. Mark Chao, Ithaca, NY
  179. Sam Schneider, Cincinnati,Ohio
  180. Hope Batcheller, Petersburgh, NY
  181. filip beeldens, Antwerpen, Belgium
  182. Carmen Bishop, Fairfax, VA
  183. Steve Hampton, Davis, CA
  184. James N. Sawyers, Westerville, Ohio
  185. Jason Luscier, Fayetteville, AR
  186. Maria Comsa, Santa Cruz, CA
  187. Simon Avery, San Luis Obispo, CA
  188. william fiero, walden, new york
  189. Greg Zupansic, Eugene, Oregon
  190. Urs Geiser, Woodridge, Illinois
  191. Lara Sparks, Merced, CA
  192. Joel Mundall, Loma Linda, CA
  193. Grace Oliver, Redmond, WA
  194. Jason Waanders, Washington, DC
  195. James P. Smith, Amherst, MA
  196. Sam Galick, Flemington, NJ
  197. Cathy Carroll, Dearborn, Michigan
  198. Chantel, Laurel Hollow, New York
  199. Jerome Wood, Huntington, New York
  200. Conor Fitzsimons, cold spring harbor, new york
  201. bobby mikkelsen, llyoud neck ny
  202. Seth Cutright, West Bend, WI
  203. Charlotte Stevens, Cumming, GA
  204. Seabrooke Leckie, Toronto, Ontario
  205. David T Liebers, Niskayuna, NY
  206. Sandra Lautrup, Effingham, Il.
  207. Tim Hochstetler, Millersburg, Ohio
  208. Elvis Wagner, New York, NY
  209. Santoi Wagner, New York
  210. Brian Sheehan, Tulsa, Oklahoma
  211. Tim Avery, Salt Lake City, Utah
  212. Lyn Imperial, Middletown, Delaware
  213. Matthew Toomey, Tempe, AZ
  214. Adriana Rodriguez, Caracas, Venezuela
  215. Blake Mathys, New Brunswick, NJ
  216. Bryan Patrick, Woodland Park, CO
  217. Richard Hibpshman, Issaquah, WA
  218. Marcus Mundall, Williamsport, MD
  219. Pat Turk, galveston, texas
  220. Matt Liebers, Niskayuna, Ny
  221. Eddie Mundall, Klamath Falls, OR
  222. Laurina Mundall, Klamath Falls, OR
  223. Ben Young, Salem, OR
  224. Amber Allen, Salem, OR
  225. Travis A. Mahan, Decatur, IL
  226. Jon Mundall, Connell, WA
  227. Matthew Medler, Charlotte, VT
  228. Mike Burchett, Morgantown, WV

How Did You Compare?

Please note that, unfortunately, many answers were disqualified because of words like hybrid, Red-shafted, and Yellow-shafted. As stated in the quiz rules, answers must consist simply of the Common or English name exactly as it appears in the ABA Checklist.

The following list shows the number of submissions for each species guessed.

Northern Flicker
228
Gilded Flicker
98
Red-bellied Woodpecker
1

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The photo and answer for this quiz were supplied by Chris Wood.