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Overview of Colaptes chrysoides
Gilded Flicker (Colaptes chrysoides), part of the wood pecker family, is native to desert areas surrounding the Gulf of California, southern Arizona, Sonora, and both northern and southern Baja California. Its distribution commonly coincides with large columnar cacti such as the saguaro. In the Sonoran desert, it often nests in holes in giant saguaro cactus but has been known to build nests in cottonwood and tree willows along rivers and streams.
The Glided Flicker feed on insects, mostly ants but will feed on beetles, termites, caterpillars and other insects. Also Glided Flickers have been known to feed on fruits and berries, seeds and nuts. They feed by foraging the grounds and climbing the trucks of cacti and trees, occasionally flying to catching insects in the air.
Gilded Flickers are apparently non-migratory. Males court the females swinging head back and forth, flicking wings open and spreading tail to show off bright underside. Once courted the sexes excavate (dig) nesting cavity in a giant cactus (often saguaro) or tree. Males defend the nest by calling, drumming, and many aggressive displays (similar to courtship). A clutch size of 4-5 eggs is incubated for about 11 day before hatching. The young are fed by both parents via regurgitation. The young leave the nest 4 weeks after hatching, being fed by their parents at first but then following them to good forging sights after.
Note: In a few places where Gilded Flickers overlap in breeding range with Red-shafted Flickers, the two will interbreed freely, producing a summer population that is nearly all hybrids.