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 is a medium-sized bird located in the forests of North America. This species has three-toed feet, and breeds in the forests of Canada, Alaska and the northwestern United States. This is the only three-toed species of woodpecker other than the American and Eurasian three-toed woodpeckers. The Black-backed Woodpecker frequently feeds mainly on beetles found in burnt trees, and reaches them via pecking the tree or gleaning branches. This is why they are referred to as “burnt-forest specialists.” They usually do not migrate, and carve a new nest each year. The population of the Black-backed Woodpecker is such that its conservation status is rated as 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

CERange Map for Black-backed Woodpecker

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