[Tweeters] Hybrid Flickers

jackie boss jackieaboss at yahoo.com
Sat Jan 10 22:36:32 PST 2015

I found Joan Miller’s notice of a melanisticNorthern Flicker interesting as I have been noticing hybrid differences inNorthern Flickers at my feeder.  I havenot seen any evidence of melanistic Flickers, but below are descriptions of Northern Red-shafted Flickers I have observed: 3 Types of male hybrid Northern Red-shaftedFlickers at my suet feeder. 
- Hybrid Northern Flicker male: Red-shafted, slight red nape, red malar outlined in black, brown head from just above eyes to malar, the rest of the head including the neck is gray

- Hybrid Northern Flicker male: Red-shafted, heavy red nape, red malar, gray face, brown from beak to eyes 

- Hybrid Northern Flicker male: Red-shafted, heavy red nape, NO malar, brown upper face & head, gray lower face
Each of the birds described above Ihave seen almost daily in the last several weeks.  Unfortunately, I am not a photographer andcan not predict for visiting photographers when these unusual Flickers may visit my suet feeder.  Siblley’s 2003, 1st editionillustrates the male Northern Red-shafted Flicker as having NO NAPE and a RED MALAR.  While he illustrates the Northern Yellow-shaftedFlicker as having a RED NAPE and BLACK MALAR.   But “The Audubon Society Encyclopediaof North American Birds” by John K. Terres (1996), p.1,015 states, “Red-shaftedinterbreeds freely with yellow-shafted flicker in a vast hybrid zone from B.C.through Alta. and the Great Plains to Tex., and also with the gilded Flicker inAriz.” And further states, “Every possible blending or mixing of the charactersof the two has been discovered,….” Though I have not seen any Yellow-shaftedFlickers at my feeder, I sure seem to have a hot spot for attracting hybrid Flickers.   
 An added note: Following KellyCassidy’s suggestion of googling “melanistic NorthernFlicker,” I was pleased to see I was directed to an article written by Alexander T. Cringan of Fort Collins, Colorado.  Though Alex Cringan passed away several yearsago, it was nice to see that his bird observations are still with us.Jackie BossAnacortes, WA *.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.
Jackie Boss
1501 16th Street
Anacortes, WA 98221-2230

(360)299-8067 (Home - preferred number)
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jackieaboss at yahoo.com

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