Black-backed Woodpecker

Picoides arcticus

Order

PICIFORMES

Family

Woodpeckers (Picidae)

Code 4

BBWO

Code 6

PICARC

ITIS

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ILLUSTRATION

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PHOTOS

CONSERVATION STATUS

Least Concern

The Black-backed Woodpecker has a large range of 6,770,000 square kilometers. This includes spruce and other coniferous forests in Alaska, Canada, and parts of the northern and western United States. The Black-backed Woodpecker frequently feeds on beetles in burned areas of forest, reaches them via pecking the tree or gleaning branches, and are often referred to as “burnt-forest specialists.” They do not usually migrate, and carve a new nest each year. The estimated breeding population of the Black-backed Woodpecker is 800,000, and it has a conservation rating of Least Concern.

IBIRD EXPLORER GENERAL

PHOTO SHARING AND DISCUSSION

BIRD PHOTOGRAPHY

SUMMARY

Overview

Black-backed Woodpecker: Small woodpecker with black back, black wings with white spots on flight feathers, barred flanks, white underparts. Head has a conspicuous white cheek mark and yellow crown. Tail is black with white outer tail feathers. Black bill is long and stout. Legs and feet are gray.

 

Range and Habitat

Black-backed Woodpecker: This species is a resident in southern and central Alaska, across much of Canada from Yukon to Newfoundland and Labrador, and south across the northernmost states from Washington and Oregon to Maine. Its preferred habitats include coniferous forests in the boreal zone, especially where burned, logged, or swampy.

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SONGS AND CALLS

Voice Text

"pick", "chik", "kik"

INTERESTING FACTS

  • Females forage higher on trees than males. Females also feed young more often than males, but carry less food in each visit.
  • The activity of these birds in burned areas is evidenced by the presence of black tree trunks with orange spots. While flaking off the charred bark in search of insects, they expose the orange cambium underneath.
  • The Black-backed Woodpecker has three toes, and is also known as the Arctic Three-toed Woodpecker.
  • A group of woodpeckers has many collective nouns, including a "descent", "drumming", and "gatling" of woodpeckers.

SIMILAR BIRDS

RANGE MAP NORTH AMERICA

About this North America Map

This map shows how this species is distributed across North America.

FAMILY DESCRIPTION

TERMINOLOGY

CREDITS

Author

Gary Owen Dick

Artist

Yury Lisyak

HELP ME IDENTIFY A BIRD

BACKYARD BIRDING

BIRDS AND BIRDING

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UnderpartsX

Belly, undertail coverts, chest, flanks, and foreneck.

CrownX
The crown is the top part of the birds head.
Flight feathersX
Located on the wing, and collectively called remiges (singular, remex). The long stiff feathers are subdivided into two major groups based on the location and are called primaries and secondaries.
Outer tail feathersX
The tail feathers farthest from the center.
Parts of a Standing bird X
Head Feathers and Markings X
Parts of a Flying bird X