Verification of Unusual Sight Record
For Utah

Rec. # 2007-21

Common name:

Gilded Flicker

Scientific name: Colaptes chrysoides
Date: February 19, 2007
Time: early afternoon ~1400 hrs.
Length of time observed: Observed: 3-5 minutes
Number: 1
Age: adult
Sex: female
Location: Beaver Dam Slope
County: Washington
Latilong: 19
Elevation: ~ 850 m
Distance to bird: ~15 -60 m
Optical equipment: Zeiss 85 T 20-60 x Diascope,
Weather: clear
Light Conditions: clear midday light
Description:        Size of bird: see below
(Description:)       Basic Shape:  
(Description:)  Overall Pattern:  
(Description:)            Bill Type:  
Field Marks and
Identifying Characteristics:
Observed in flight, flying overhead and landing on a large, dead, Joshua Tree, approximately 60 meters north of the road. In flight, it seemed relatively small, and appeared to have yellow shafts on wing feathers. We set up the scope and viewed the perched bird for a few minutes. The entire time it was perched on the back side of the Joshua Tree branch with 2/3rds of its body in view, including belly, chest, head, and wings.

In flight, overall dark, with prominent white rump patch and very dark tail. Primary shafts of wings appeared yellow in flight.

Long and large dark bill with a noticeably curved upper culmen; dark eye prominent on pale face; face, cheeks, throat and sides of head light gray offset from brown/tan crown and nape; brownish tan area extending from top of bill through eye and across top of head and down nape;
prominent black patch on center of breast, half circle-shaped; lower breast and belly light brown with dark spots.

Unfortunately we were not able to observe the underside of the tail or barring on the back, however the face and crown color and pattern are distinctive.
Song or call & method of delivery: none heard
Behavior: flying / perched
Habitat: Beaver Dam Slope, large Joshua Trees across from corrals on top of hill above Beaver Dam Wash, Lytle / Big Cottonwood Ranch road crossing.
Similar species and how
were they eliminated:
Very similar to Northern Flicker, however smaller and distinguished from eastern yellow-shafted form by color of face and crown (brown and gray respectively rather than gray face and
brown crown). Distinguished from western red-shafted female by lack of brown in the malar area and brown crown extending down to nape.

Other helpful characters not viewed include the pattern of the underside of tail.

I ve also read that the barring on the back of Gilded Flickers is lighter, and the spots on the belly are more crescent-shaped , however I ve never been able to see a noticeable difference in these characters and use them to distinguish Gilded Flickers.
Previous experience with
this & similar species:
I've seen Gilded Flickers numerous times in the Mojave and Sonoran Deserts.
References consulted:  
Description from: Notes taken at time of sighting
Observer: Rick Fridell
Observer's address: Hurricane, UT
Observer's e-mail address:
Other observers who independently identified this bird: Kevin Wheeler
Date prepared: 08/04/07
Additional material:  
Additional Comments: