Northern Flicker (Colaptes auratus) “klee-yer” calls, October 11, 2009, Kettle Moraine State Forest—Southern Unit, Headquarters, Waukesha County, WI.
This flicker flew into a tree in front of a flock of robins that I was recording. You can hear various robin vocalizations in the background as the flicker called twice. Its evident from the two sonograms that the calls are highly variable. This call is often referred to as the “klee-yer” or “Peah” call. There is some disagreement in the literature as to its function, either as an alarm call or a contact call. BNA cites research suggesting that:
Peah functions as a “signature” call that enables adults and fledglings to recognize each other. Duncan (1990) showed that Peahs contain sufficient information for individual identification and argued that parents learn signatures of their young and vice versa during late hatchling phase, and this information is used to locate each other postfledging.