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Hi Bert,

Lovely shot. It is rare to see pure yellow-shafted flickers here. Your bird is an intergrade because although it has red on the nape and yellow shafted feathers, note the face. This bird is a female, so you wouldn't expect the black moustachial stripe but pure yellow-shafted flickers have a tan brown face and a gray crown. Your bird has the face of a red-shafted flicker, as it has a brown crown and a gray face.

Hope that helps.
Lovely detail on the shot of the intergrade Bert.

[quote="BirderBert"] Do we get to see any "pure" YS down here?

I know there is at least one, caught helping himself to the "seeds and peanut butter balls" in my squirrel feeder during the heavy snowfall this winter.
ImageNorthern Flicker - Yellow Shafted - 094A5108a1c by Sue Coastal Observer, on Flickr
I got one that seems a true Yellow-shafted bird at Boundary Bay a couple of years ago.

DSC_3910 by brian avent, on Flickr

There are a high number of Intergrade birds around the Lower Mainland and I have seen a wide range of variations in markings.
"Yellow-shafted" Flickers are quite uncommon in southwestern BC, but we have loads of intergrades. You can check eBird for "Yellow-shafted" Northern Flicker sightings (Explore Data then Species Maps) - if you are curious about the veracity of the sightings, you can actually select only the checklists that have photos, videos, or audio recordings associated with them by selecting the "Explore Rich Media" option once you select your species.

As for Brian's bird, it is actually also an intergrade. You can see the black malar has red infused to it, which is most visible near the base of the bill.

Good birding,
Jeremy Gatten
Saanichton, BC
New here.
Recently moved here to Nanaimo. We have a flicker with a beautiful, large red chevron and bright red malar (sorry no good pics). Are there any speculations as to why intergrade flickers are fairly common in the area, yet yellow shafted birds are rare?

Hi Mike,

I have always wondered that question, so I took a moment to see if I could find any literature on it quickly. There is (or was?) a long-term study in the hybrid contact zone in Riske Creek (west of Williams Lake) and I found a paper from this research that seems to cover or allude to the reason. The paper can be found here: ... 150525.pdf

The line I read that seems to hit the nail on head is that 'Yellow-shafted' Flickers winter east of the Rockies, while 'Red-shafted' winter west of the Rockies. While "red-orange" hybrids winter among 'Red-shafted' Flickers in the west. It would be interesting to pay closer attention during the breeding season to see if we exclusively get these hybrids during the winter or whether we are seeing influences of the contact zone bleeding over to the coast.

Thanks for putting that question out and hopefully a more thorough read (as I just quickly sought out an answer) will further elucidate the answer.

Jeremy Gatten
Saanichton, BC
Flickers are such beautiful birds that I have lots of pictures taken in the Lower Mainland where they are common. I took a quick scan through my collection and find that of the many intergrade pictures I have, with only one exception in July, they are all winter, December through March, whereas the red-shafted birds are spread throughout the year. Might just be a coincidence as the total number of pictures is not huge.

Looks like a Pectoral Sandpiper to me..

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