Family Woodpeckers (Picidae)

Least Concern

Gilded Flicker (Colaptes chrysoides)


French: Pic chrysoïde German: Wüstengoldspecht Spanish: Carpintero escapulario californiano

Geopicus (Colaptes) chrysoides


, 1852,

Cape San Lucas, Baja California, Mexico


Genetically not significantly divergent from C. cafer and sometimes considered conspecific with C. mexicanoides (see both species). Races intergrade clinally. Four subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • C. c. brunnescens Anthony, 1895 – N & C Baja California.
  • C. c. chrysoides (Malherbe, 1852) – S Baja California.
  • C. c. mearnsi Ridgway, 1911 – extreme SE California (Colorado Valley) and S & C Arizona S in desert to NW Mexico (N Sonora).
  • C. c. tenebrosus van Rossem, 1930 – N Sonora to N Sinaloa.
  • Descriptive notes

    c. 26–30 cm; 92–129 g (mearnsi). Male has rusty to rufous-yellow forehead to hindneck, red malar, rest of head down to upper breast grey; pale brownish... read more


    Descending “peah” or “klee-yer”, long series of “whit” notes in... read more


    Arid scrub and desert with large cacti and yucca (Yucca) plants, and dry riverine woodland... read more

    Food and feeding

    Ants and their brood, and other insects. Also fruits, e.g. of cactus, and berries; also nuts, including pecan (Carya) and walnut... read more


    Laying Feb–Jun. Nest most frequently excavated in large cactus, particularly saguaro cactus (Carnegiea gigantea), at 3... read more


    Resident; wanderers recorded N to SW Utah.

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Common. Stable or increasing in USA, with average increase of 8% annually since 1968. In Mexico, conversion of cactus deserts to irrigated farmland... read more

    Recommended citation

    Winkler, H. & Christie, D.A. (2019). Gilded Flicker (Colaptes chrysoides). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 12 December 2019).