Identify this bird presented by my cat

My cat brought home a present today. What kind of bird is this? (Mostly intact, for the squeamish.) Pacific Northwest U.S. Spouse thinks it’s a young crow.

A crow? Seriously? :dubious:

Could be a flicker:

Female northern flicker.

Congratulations, your cat just killed a woodpecker.

No, crows don’t have that kind of coloring, and they have stouter beaks.

If it’s a flicker, it’s a flicker on flickr. :slight_smile:

It could be one of those gray crows. You know, the ones that aren’t black like every crow.

I thought it might be a flicker, but I wasn’t going to move it around for a better look.


If this was sarcasm it failed. There are lots of grey crows.

None in the PNW. All the crows here are all:

Out here, young crows are kind of a grey mottled color. Though this is no crow.

Since you live in the middle of Puget Sound, only the mature crows make it out that far.


Crow, crowand crow.

I think that’s a male, actually — the western (red-shafted) variety has different sexual markers than the eastern (yellow-shafted) subspecies. Take a look at this photo; the red “mustache” is only present on the male. (Assuming that those feathers in the picture are actually red and not just bloody.) The photo doesn’t show whether it has the black area on its chest, which would be the most unambiguous indicator.

I believe you are correct.

Yes, it’s a male Northern Flicker of the red-shafted (western) subspecies, Colaptes auratus cafer.

The cat was probably able to get it because flickers, unlike other woodpeckers, often forage on the ground, where they feed on ants.

I was going to guess fringed disco hawk.

Here are photos of the chest. The red by the mouth isn’t blood, it’s the normal markings. I’m hoping my cat didn’t actually kill it, but found it dead and brought it home to me. :dubious: It’s not apparent in the photo, but when I rolled it over to see the chest, the whole ventral side was completely flattened, like it had been in that position for a long while. All I know is that the bird wasn’t there at 9 am, but was there at 4 pm., and seemed way too flat for that length of time.

As a general rule cats will avoid carrion unless they are very hungry.

That flattening is just the feathers being realigned. Small birds are about 75% feathers based on their appearance, so simply realigning them produces what seem like radical changes in shape. And the feathers get realigned as easily as your hair. Imagine if I wet your hair and then forced you to lie completely still for 8 hours. That’s the sort of effect you are seeing here.

Yeah, I kind of doubt my cat would bring me home something he didn’t actually kill by himself.

This bird has such gorgeous feathers that I hate to just throw it out, but I don’t know who would want it or where to offer it.

My cat would bring home the birds my neighbour’s cat killed. She never ate them, just left them at the front door.

Yeah, stealing kills from other cats is normal cat behaviour. It doesn’t really count as carrion.