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Brown speckled ground feeder with black chest and red on back of neck - Any ideas?


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#1 mpatton

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Posted 18 August 2008 - 08:05 AM

I live in NW Illinois.  This morning I saw a pair of birds I've never seen before and, unusually, I've not been able to identify the bird using the WhatBird site.

The birds were as large as a mourning dove feeding nearby.  The body was a speckled brown.  It had a distinct roundish black patch on it's chest which did not extend to it's neck or head.  It had a band of red on just the back of it's neck, not all they way around it's neck and not on it's head at all. It's beak was at least as long as it's head.  Was not a short beak.  I only saw one of the closely enough to see the markings. 

I first noticed one of the birds when it was feeding on the ground and became aggressive toward a mourning dove feeding near by.  My first thought was it looked like some sort of woodpecker but was stumped by seeing it ground feeding.  It remained on the ground but sort of raised and puffed up it's wings to make itself look larger and moved toward the dove.  The dove flew away quickly.  As a few more moments passed I also saw it chasing off a robin and another dove.  It then flew a bit and landed near another bird of the same shape (I was unable to clearly see if it was marked the same way or was maybe a more muted female) that it was not aggressive toward.  Both birds left our yard when a blue jay flew in.

 
I would appreciate any ideas or suggestions!

 

Thanks!
 



 



#2 Possumbird55

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Posted 18 August 2008 - 08:08 AM

Sounds like it could be a Northern Flicker, which is a woodpecker but tends to ground feed.  a picture would help, too

#3 snowyowl

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Posted 18 August 2008 - 08:13 AM

You have perfectly described a Northern Flicker (yellow-shafted race), a member of the woodpecker family.  They are often on the ground pursuing their favorite food - ants.

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#4 mpatton

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Posted 18 August 2008 - 08:15 AM

Thanks valleygirl!  I looked up a few pictures and I believe you are right! 

I was able to try to get one photo before they flew away.  Alas, the bird looked like a brown blob in the distance in our large backyard.  Nothing that could be used to distinguish any features at all.

Hoping to see them again and try to get some pictures.

 
Thanks again!
 



#5 mpatton

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Posted 19 August 2008 - 09:28 AM

Thank you also snowyowl.  I'd been typing when you posted the photo and didn't see your response or the pic you posted until now.

 That's certainly the bird I saw!  I'd love to see them again but they haven't been back.

 






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