Some people are flashy dressers, always knowing what goes best with what; likewise some birds have really put together a stunning “outfit”. Northern Flickers are one of those birds, with their black mustache and bib, big polka-dotted breast, and yellow highlights under the wing and tail feathers. If this is even a weak attempt at camouflage, the bird has failed. He’s just gaudy, especially with his red nape.
Mr. Flicker has been a regular visitor to the suet feeder, ever since I upgraded the quality of the suet to a highly concentrated peanut butter mixture. Although the species has a year-round range in the continental US (including MN) and central Mexico, I have only seen them occasionally in the summer here. We have the eastern variety of this species (which used to be called Yellow-shafted Flicker); the western subspecies has a red mustache and red coloration under the wings and tail. (Because the two color morphs of the Northern Flicker interbreed where they co-occur, they are considered the same species.)
Insect (especially ant) eaters in the summer, they become fruit and seed eaters in the winter. They don’t seem especially interested in my sunflower seeds, but they do love the peanut butter. I hope this guy brings the Mrs. along sometime, so I can photograph them together.