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Lewis & Clark as Naturalists
The Collection: Species Details Lewis and Clark as Naturalists
Bird    Species Name:
Colaptes auratus

Common Name:
Northern Flicker

Family:
Picidae

Localities:
Knife River, North Dakota   April 11, 1805

By noting plants and animals common to the United States west of the Mississippi River, Lewis and Clark extended the boundaries of known flora and fauna.  In the spring of 1805, they noticed the appearance of the northern flicker returning from their winter grounds in the southern U.S. and Central America.  The asymmetrically pointed feathers of the tail identifies the northern flicker's heritage as that of a woodpecker.  Yet unlike most woodpeckers, the northern flicker spends much of its time on the ground foraging for ants.  This is one of the larger woodpeckers in North America, and certainly one of the more strikingly patterned.  Two color phases exist, the yellow shafted, and the red shafted; the red shafted only inhabits the western U.S.


Journal Entries:

The Captains noted the "lark woodpecker" at several points along their route, both outbound and returning. This bird is now designated as the northern ...  more>>

References Linnaeus, Carolinus, Systema Naturae per regna tria naturae, secundum classis, ordines, genera, species cum characteribus, differentiis, synonymis, locis. Tenth ed. Vol. 1., Laurentii Salvii, Stockholm, 824 pp., 1758

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northern yellow shafted flicker breast feathers

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northern yellow shafted flicker tail

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northern yellow shafted flicker

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northern yellow shafted flicker

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northern yellow shafted flicker

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Northern Flicker (Colaptes auratus) (red shafted/western form)

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Northern Flicker (Colaptes auratus) (red shafted/western form)


 
 
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