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Northern Flicker

Identification Northern Flicker

This medium-sized (12″) woodpecker is mostly brown with a black necklace and mustache, speckled breast and a bright red spot on the back of its neck. The Northern Flicker is the only brown-backed woodpecker found in Minnesota.


Northern Flickers are the only ground-feeding woodpecker in the United States, but Karen Arrigoni, an Eagan customer, snapped this beautiful photo (left) of one using a suet log . Flickers traditionally migrate, but many will stick around throughout the winter if they have a food source and water.


Northern Flickers eat insects, especially ants and beetles it plucks from the ground. Their special saliva protects them from ants’ acidic defenses. Flickers will visit suet feeders and may also dine on mealworms, fruit and nut blends at feeding stations.