Verification of Unusual Sight Record
For Utah

Rec. # 201

Common name:

Gilded Flicker

Scientific name: Colaptes chrysoides
Date: 02-24 and 03-10-2012
Length of time observed: ~ 1.5 hrs
Number: 1
Age: Adult
Sex: Male
Location: South Campground, Zion NP
County: Washington
Latilong: 19
Distance to bird: 15-25 m
Optical equipment: 8x42 binoculars, 60x scope
Weather: various
Light Conditions: overcast, shaded, and full sunlight
Description:        Size of bird:  
(Description:)       Basic Shape:  
(Description:)  Overall Pattern:  
(Description:)            Bill Type:  
Field Marks and
Identifying Characteristics:
I briefly observed a yellow-shafted flicker that I strongly suspected to be a Gilded Flicker on 24 February at the South Campground, Zion NP. On the initial observation I was able to clearly see the yellow-shafts and head pattern including brown cap / nape coloration. However, the flicker disappeared before I was able to study additional characters. I relocated the woodpecker on 10 March and after studying it through the scope and taking some photos I confirmed it was a Gilded Flicker. At one point it landed on the ground close to a red-shafted Northern Flicker and I was able to directly compare its size and patterning.

Fairly large woodpecker, slightly but noticeable smaller than a Northern Flicker in direct comparison. Large gray bill and black eye. Head pattern with gray face and a distinct cinnamon brown cap extending down nape; cinnamon brightest above and in front of eyes; cinnamon cap clearly demarcated from gray face and cheek; red malar stripe on face. Back and wing coverts light brown with black barring. Chest with black half oval / crescent shaped patch rounded on sides. Undersides light brown with black spotting gradually getting larger and more crescent-shaped towards flanks and undertail coverts. Wing feathers dark with yellow feather shafts and small pale bars on upperside of primaries. Yellow visible on underside of wings (in flight) and bright white rump / upper tail coverts visible in flight. Tail black above with checked central rectrices and bicolored yellow and black below; ratio of yellow to black on underside of tail was 50/50.
Viewed in direct comparison with Northern Flicker while foraging on ground; Gilded Flicker was slightly, but noticeably, smaller with lighter back and lighter markings on back.
(see photos)
Song or call & method of delivery: none heard
Behavior: foraging on ground and in trees
Habitat: campground in riparian area along North Fork of Virgin River
Similar species and how
were they eliminated:
Slightly smaller overall than Northern Flicker. Pattern similar to male red-shafted Northern Flicker but with yellow in wings and tail and distinct cinnamon cap contrasting sharply with gray face and cheek and extending down nape. Back slightly lighter with lighter barring. Crescent on chest slightly smaller and more rounded on sides. Spotting on chest becoming more barred on lower parts. Black band on tip of tail much wider, comprising ~ 50% of tail rather than 25-35% in Northern Flicker.
Previous experience with
this & similar species:
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:  
Date prepared: 07-07-2012
Additional material: Photos
Additional_Comments: notes and description above copied from field notes written following sighting.