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USA (national)

Alabama State Bird

Northern Flicker (yellowhammer) in tree - click to see all state birds
Photo by melmel80 on Flickr (noncommercial use permitted with attribution).
All state birds - National Bird

Yellowhammer Woodpecker (Northern Flicker)

Northern flicker video

The "yellowhammer" was designated the official bird symbol of Alabama in 1927 (Alabama is the the only state that chose a woodpecker as state bird). The yellowhammer (correct name northern flicker) has been a symbol of Alabama since the Civil War (Alabama is often called The Yellowhammer State). Northern flickers (Colaptes auratus) range throughout the USA (red- shafted in the west and yellow-shafted flickers in the east, with interbreeding between these two color variations in between).

The northern flicker is a common species present year- round in Alabama, but bird surveys show that flickers are declining in numbers (particularly the eastern yellow-shafted flicker). Possible reasons: use of pesticides on lawns and other feeding areas, and diminishing eastern forests.

Unlike most woodpeckers, northern flickers forage primarily on the ground, eating ants, termites, caterpillars, grasshoppers (and other insects), spiders, seeds, nuts, and berries (including the berry of the poison ivy plant). The yellowhammer does not have the super- hammering ability of most woodpeckers and seeks out rotten or hollow trees, fence posts, and occasionally earthen banks or nest boxes for nesting.

Northern flicker (yellowhammer woodpecker) - click to see all state birds
Northern flicker photo © Henry Detwiler: Southwest Birders
Source:
Alabama Emblems & Symbols: Alabama Archives & History
Alabama State Bird: Alabama Dept of Archives & History
Northern Flicker - Colaptes auratus: USGS
Alabama Wildbird Conservation Association
Links:
All About Birds - Northern Flicker: Cornell Lab of Ornithology
All state birds - National Bird

    

 

Alabama Symbols & Icons:

bird - game bird 
mammal - horse show
marine mammal - horse
fish-marine fish
reptile-amphibian
butterfly-insect
flower-shell
wildflower-soil
fruit -nut - spirit
tree-tree fruit
gemstone-rock
fossil-mineral
  

flag - seal
coat of arms
name - motto
nicknames
dance - quarter
song-poets
theatre - bible
drama-musical
museum
quilt - creed
fair- tournament
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Alabama Alphabet Book
An Alabama Alphabet Book:
Y is for Yellowhammer

Birds, Birds, Birds! DVD
Birds, Birds, Birds! DVD

Northern Flicker (Yellowhammer) Video

All state bird videos

Alabama Gifts - Gifts by State

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