Alabama State Bird
The yellowhammer, more commonly known as the northern flicker, was designated the Alabama State Bird in 1927. The large, brown woodpecker has been a symbol of Alabama since the Civil War. That’s why Alabama is often called the “Yellowhammer State.”
The northern flicker is a common species and can be seen (and heard) year-round in Alabama. Unlike most woodpeckers, northern flickers have a limited hammering ability and prefer to forage on the ground. Their slightly curved bills are well suited for digging up insects and harvesting nuts, seeds, and berries. Yellowhammers make their homes in rotten, hollowed out trees, fence posts, and nest boxes–if they’re lucky enough to find a vacant one.
Northern Flicker Facts
Name: Northern Flicker
Scientific Name: Colaptes auratus
Habitat: Open woodlands, forests, streamside woods, flooded swamps, march edges, parks with scattered trees, suburbs
Food: Insects, especially ants and beetles, berries, seeds, small fruit
Fun Facts: Alabama is the only state in the Union that has a woodpecker as its official state bird. Yellowhammers adore ants and consume more of them than any other species of bird found in the United States. Once a yellowhammer discovers an ant nest, it will use its bill to stir things up. Then the yellowhammer laps up the scrambling ants with its long tongue.
Alabama State Bird Coloring Pages
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Yellowhammer (Northern Flicker) photograph by skeeze
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