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Andean Flicker Colaptes rupicola


As the name “rupicola” (rock-loving) suggests, this flicker is not associated with trees or forest. In fact it is found in areas distinctly devoid of trees. Rather than nesting in a cavity, the Andean Flicker makes burrows in banks or cliffs in soft soil areas. Andean Flickers are not only unusual in this manner, but also in that they often nest in colonies rather than solitarily. As the English name of this flicker also suggests, this is a highland flicker restricted to the Andes. It seldom is found below 2000m in elevation, and prefers high elevation Puna grassland habitat, and is the common flicker in the Altiplano. This is a relatively large flicker, and long-bodied. In fact everything about it appears long. It has a very long bill which sometimes droops a bit, and a long tail and powerful and long legs. The latter because this flicker feeds exclusively on the ground. There is interesting geographic variation in this species, as there is in various species of flickers. In some populations males have a black moustache, and the female no moustache; in others the male has a red moustache (or red and black) while the female has a black moustache! Furthermore in the population where females lack a moustache, the nape is red in both sexes.

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© Ted Parker

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Recommended Citation

Andean Flicker (Colaptes rupicola), In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. retrieved from Neotropical Birds Online: