The northern flicker is a woodpecker that is found through out most of North America. Their range extends as far north as northern Canada and Alaska and as far south as Central America. Unlike most woodpecker species the northern flicker is primarily a ground feeder. They eat primarily insects, mostly ants, that they dig up from the dirt. They will also use their slightly curved beak to probe into the ground and then use their long forked tongue to slurp up the ants or other insects.
Since it is difficult to find insects in the dirt when the ground is frozen and covered with snow the flicker is one of the few woodpeckers in North America that will migrate south. Most of the flickers in the US will stay on territory year round but flickers in Canada and Alaska migrate south to the southern US or Mexico. Flickers that do stay on territory in northern climates will eat berries and seeds during the winter.
Their are two subspecies of northern flickers. They are the red-shafted and the yellow-shafted northern flicker. The first photograph is an example of a red-shafted flicker. Red-shafted flickers are found in the western half of North America. Yellow-shafted flicker, second photo, are found in the eastern half of North America. At one time they were considered two separate species but since the frequently hybridize in the central portion of the continent, where their ranges overlap, it was decided by the American Ornithologists Union that they are two subspecies of a single species. You can see in this final picture how the feather shafts are colored, yellow or red, giving the two subspecies their difference in appearance.