[CT Birds] Northern Flicker behavior

Arthur Shippee ashippee at snet.net
Mon May 12 12:04:04 EDT 2014


"Agonistic" implies a purpose, at least at a general level, as "agōn," a good Greek word, means struggle, so calling it agonistic means there is something competitive to the display, as opposed to, e.g., some form of bonding or community building (as in our dancing or choral singing). 

Do we see this in other woodpeckers?

Anyway, a cool sighting and I'm glad to hear about it.  

> On May 12, 2014, at 10:43 AM, Roy Zartarian <royz at royzartarian.com> wrote:
> 
> You saw the Flickers doing what BNA Online calls the Wicka (from the
> vocalization) dance and describes as a ritualized agonistic behavior,
> usually between two members of the same sex, whose purpose is undetermined.
> I had the opportunity to watch the same behavior in my back yard about
> three years ago. It's a fascinating phenomenon.
> 
> Roy Zartarian
> Newington
> 
> 
>> On Mon, May 12, 2014 at 8:44 AM, Beverly Propen <bpropen at gmail.com> wrote:
>> 
>> ​5/12  Orange backyard
>> I was observing an interesting behavior by 3 Northern Flickers this
>> morning.
>> 2 Females were on a horizontal branch with bills facing skyward, tilting
>> their heads back & forth, bills almost used like swords.  Their tail
>> feathers were spread and they did a light dance on the branch.  The male
>> flicker was attached to the trunk of the tree underneath them.  His tail
>> also spread, then he approached the 2 females on the horizontal branch, he
>> displayed similar behavior of bill tilted upward, head back and forth and
>> dancing around on the branch.  I assume it was a courtship display, but I
>> am puzzled why the 2 females (no malar stripe) were displaying to each
>> other.
>> Bev Propen, Orange
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