Fernandina's Flicker Colaptes fernandinae


Fernandina's Flicker is an endemic of Cuba. It has a patchy distribution across the island of Cuba and is primarily restricted to wet palm savanna ecosystems from central to western Cuba. It nests primarily in Copernica, Sabal, and Roystonea palms. As the native Cuban palm savanna ecosystem has shrunk or been otherwise impacted by direct and indirect human activities (e.g., cattle ranching, induced fires, invasive species, incursion of seawater level) the population of the Fernandina's Flicker has declined. Fernandina's Flicker has a barred plumage pattern that somewhat resembles that of a female Williamson's Sapsucker (Sphyrapicus thyroideus). Males have a black stripe of feathers in the malar region while in the female this mark is absent. Fernandina's Flickers breed between February to July, and nest in both live and old, hollowed-out palms. They share these breeding trees with other secondary cavity-nesting birds such as American Kestrel (Falco sparverius), Bare-legged Owl (Gymnoglaux lawrencii), and Cuban Parakeet (Aratinga euops). Interestingly, there is evidence that nesting holes used by the flickers and other secondary cavity-nesting birds are initiated by the West Indian Woodpeckers (Melanerpes superciliaris). During the breeding season, there is a strongly antagonistic relationship between the two woodpecker species. The West Indian Woodpecker is very territorial, and has been known to destroy eggs and remove the chicks of other secondary cavity nesters, including Fernandina's Flicker. Fernandina's Flicker forages on the ground for ants; however, it also feeds on ants and termites found in live and decaying palms primarily during the wet season when the ground is flooded.

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© Michael Andersen

  • Year-round
  • Migration
  • Breeding
  • Non-Breeding

Recommended Citation

Fernandina's Flicker (Colaptes fernandinae), In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. retrieved from Neotropical Birds Online: https://neotropical.birds.cornell.edu/Species-Account/nb/species/ferfli1