?Like a "Northern Flicker" in UK?

Hi. This morning (16 Sept 2019) very briefly a very unusual bird landed in our garden at Bishops Cleeve, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, UK. Sadly not for long enough to get a photo. At first I thought it was a woodpecker (I'm not greatly knowledeable about birds), but checking our "Birds of Britain and Europe" book, it did n't match any colouring wise. It had a white/cream back with black speckles or maybe black patches/bars. White/cream wing tops with black speckles I think. Black patches elsewhere. Red - possibly as a red head cap, but time was against my observation and memory. It landed to a horizontal mode (like most birds), not a vertical stance. (We've had a kestrel twice - which was more vertical.) Size bigger than a blackbird but less than a pigeon, and fairly sleak.

The closest I've seen so far in a web search is the USA "Northern Flicker".

Has anyone else seen similar in the SW UK recently? Any ideas what it may have been?

Many thanks. IanBJ

  • Hi Ian

    It wasn't a juvenile Green Woodpecker I suppose? They can look very mottled until they get their adult plumage.



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  • In reply to TeeJay:

    Thanks Tony. No, I did not see any green on it. I've seen a green woodpecker before, though not a juvenille. Had a couple around here in previous years. I think I'd have recognised that. But it was that "type" of bird in size/shape and I think probably the beak too, but obs were too brief to be sure.
  • Red, white and black sounds much more like the Great Spotted Woodpecker, especially when you mention the black and white speckles and bars on the wings.

    I used to live in Bishops Cleeve too, the older part near the Pecked Lane play park. Its a small world.




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  • Hi, and thanks Bob. No - unless my memory is really deceiving me - it had a much whiter back. I'd noted the Great Spotted Woodpecker (its in my bird book with photos/sketches) and ruled it out. As said originally, it was much more like the Northern Flicker - though I know that's a north American bird, not UK.

    A small world indeed that you used to live in Bishops Cleeve too...
  • Ok. Thanks for the replies. I think my only hope with this one is a return visit and time to get a photo that I can attach. Unlikely, but you never know...
    Best wishes all... and my thanks.