Alabama’s State Bird: The Northern Flicker (aka Yellowhammer)

The Northern Flicker (aka Yellowhammer) is found throughout Alabama, as well as in parts of Georgia, Mississippi, and Tennessee. It prefers open woodlands and grassy areas. The bird gets its name from the Old English word “yellow” meaning “bright or light-colored,” and “hammer” meaning “a tool for pounding or driving nails.”

The Northern Flicker is not currently considered to be at risk of extinction. However, the bird’s numbers have declined in recent years, likely due to habitat loss and fragmentation. The Northern Flicker is protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918.

What Does the Alabama State Bird Look Like?

The Northern Flicker is a small songbird with a bright yellow head and breast. Its back and wings are brown, and it has a white belly. Northern Flicker is about 15 centimeters long, with a wingspan of 20-25 centimeters. They weigh between 20 and 30 grams.

The male has a yellow head and breast, with a white belly and grayish wings. The female is much duller in color, with a brownish head and breast. Both sexes have a yellow bill and black legs.

How Did the Northern Flicker Become Alabama’s State Bird? 

The Northern Flicker was officially adopted as Alabama’s state bird on September 6, 1927. The bird was chosen for its beauty and its ability to adapt to the state’s climatic conditions.

The Northern Flicker is the only woodpecker that is a member of the Alabama State Bird list. The bird was likely chosen for its connection to the state’s forestry industry. The bird’s nesting habits also make it beneficial to the state’s ecosystem.

How Does Northern Flicker Behave?

The woodpecker family is known to be one of the noisiest bird families. They are often seen and heard banging their beaks on trees, power poles, and even metal roofs! The Northern Flicker is no exception to this rule. This bird is also known to make a loud tapping or drumming noise with its beak as a form of communication.

The Northern Flicker is a social bird and can often be seen in small flocks. These birds are also known to mate for life. Both the male and female will help to excavate their nesting cavity and will take turns incubating the eggs.

What Do Northern Flickers Eat?

Northern Flicker is a woodpecker, and like all woodpeckers, its diet consists mainly of insects. Woodpeckers are specially adapted to eat insects that live in trees. They have long, sticky tongues that they use to catch their prey.

Northern Flickers spend a lot of time on the ground, where they can be seen pecking at ants and other insects. They will also eat fruits, berries, and seeds that they find on the ground.

What Is the Northern Flicker’s Mating Behavior Like?

The Northern Flicker is a monogamous bird, meaning that it mates with only one partner. Both the male and female help to build the nest. The female lays anywhere from 4 to 10 eggs, which hatch after about two weeks. Once the chicks are born, both parents help to care for them.

Final Thoughts

The Northern Flicker is a beautiful and adaptable bird that is well-suited to the state of Alabama. The bird’s striking yellow plumage and its affinity for open woodlands make it a fitting choice for the state bird. The Northern Flicker is also beneficial to the state’s ecosystem, as its nesting habits help to control the population of insects. The bird’s social nature and its mate-for-life behavior also make it a symbol of loyalty and fidelity. All of these qualities make the Northern Flicker an excellent choice for Alabama’s state bird.


What Is the Scientific Name for the Northern Flicker?

The Northern Flicker is also known as the northern flicker, and its scientific name is Colaptes auratus.

How Did the Yellowhammer Get Its Name?

There are a few theories on how the yellowhammer got its name. One theory is that the bird was named after an old English word, “yelehammeren,” which means “to chirp loudly.” Another theory is that the name comes from the bird’s yellow underbelly, which is said to resemble a hammer.

How Long Do Northern Flicker Live?

The average lifespan of a Northern Flicker is 10 years, but some have been known to live up to 15 years in captivity.

Are Northern Flicker Endangered?

No, Northern Flickers are not currently endangered. In fact, their population has remained stable for the past few years.

What Threats Do Yellowhammers Face?

The biggest threat to Northern Flickers is habitat loss. As development and urbanization continue to encroach on their natural habitats, these birds are finding it increasingly difficult to find places to live and build their nests.

What Can Be Done to Help Conserve Northern Flicker?

There are a few things that can be done to help conserve northern flicker and other threatened bird species. One is to support organizations that are working to protect and preserve natural habitats. Another is to make your backyard more “bird-friendly” by planting native flowers and trees, avoiding the use of pesticides, and providing water sources such as bird baths. Finally, you can help spread the word about the importance of conserving our feathered friends!

Julian Goldie - Owner of

Julian Goldie

I'm a bird enthusiast and creator of Chipper Birds, a blog sharing my experience caring for birds. I've traveled the world bird watching and I'm committed to helping others with bird care. Contact me at [email protected] for assistance.