Black-backed Woodpecker

The plumage of adults is black on the head, back, wings and rump. They are white from the throat to the belly; the flanks are white with black bars. Their tail is black with white outer feathers. There is an element of sexual dimorphism in the plumage, with the adult male possessing a yellow cap. Unlike all other woodpeckers except the related American and Eurasian Three-toed Woodpeckers, this species has three-toed feet.

The Black-backed Woodpecker is classified as Least Concern. Does not qualify for a more at risk category. Widespread and abundant taxa are included in this category.

The Black-backed Woodpecker (Picoides arcticus) is a medium-sized woodpecker inhabiting the forests of North America. It is a medium sized woodpecker (23 cm long). The plumage of adults is black on the head, back, wings and rump. They are white from the throat to the belly; the flanks are white with black bars. Their tail is black with white outer feathers. There is an element of sexual dimorphism in the plumage, with the adult male possessing a yellow cap. More

Black-backed Woodpecker Range MapView dynamic map of eBird sightings Field MarksHelp - * Adult malePopOutZoom In Adult male * © 2004 Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Placer County, California, July 2000 * Adult femalePopOutZoom In Adult female * © 2004 Cornell More

The call note of the Black-backed Woodpecker is a single, sharp pik, and is lower pitched than the call of the American Three-toed Woodpecker. Male, Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve, Alaska Female, Quebec, Canada Female, Quebec, Canada Female, Quebec, Canada References - * BirdLife International (2004). Picoides arcticus. 2006. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN 2006. More

broader in Black-backed Woodpeckers; Three-toed Woodpeckers have a slimmer white line below the eye as well as another white line behind the eye. The yellow crown patch is smaller and solidly yellow in Black-backed Woodpeckers rather than larger and rather streaked in Three-toed Woodpeckers. Female Black-backed Woodpeckers have a solid black forehead and crown, which is unlike the streaked and white speckled forehead and crown of Three-toed Woodpeckers (Dixon and Saab 2000). More

Drawing of black-backed woodpecker, species description, description of song, range, courtship, nesting, eggs, natural feeding habits. Cornell Lab of Ornithology Photos, description, sound file, range map, habitat, food, behavior, reproduction, conservation status. Birdweb Black-backed Woodpecker Photo © Mike Danzenbaker Photos, sound file, description, Click to enlarge habitat, behavior, diet, nesting, and conservation status. Range Maps: (Click map to enlarge. More

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. More

The Black-backed Woodpecker is missing a hind toe and thus only has two toes in front and one behind. The male has a conspicuous yellow cap, which the female is lacking, solid black back, white below and heavily barred sides. The solid black color is glossy and reflects green on the back while the head reflects blue. The face pattern consists of a fine white line behind the eye. The bird is approximately 9 1/2" to 10" in length with a wingspread of 14-16". More

Black-backed woodpeckers breed in mature or old-growth conifer forests, especially forests of spruce, larch, fir, pine, and hemlock. In Washington, they can be found at moderate to high elevations, but they will come down into the Ponderosa pine zone after forest fires there. They are strongly attracted to burns and arrive within a few months of fires. They stay as long as prey is abundant, typically several years. More

The Black-backed Woodpecker is a robin-sized woodpecker with a solid black back, barred flanks and white below. The male has a yellow crown while the female has a solid black crown. Dead conifers with large areas of peeled bark generally indicate the presence of the uncommon Black-backed Woodpecker. When alarmed, it quickly sidles to the far side of the tree and reappears cautiously. If frightened, the bird flies away, often calling sharply. Its call is a sharp, fast kyik and a scolding rattle. More

The Black-backed woodpecker (Picoides arcticus; BBWO) is a naturally rare, wide-ranging species, which prefers early post-fire habitat. Existing information indicates the importance of fire to BBWO across their range. Many studies have documented BBWO nesting in post-burn habitats created by stand-replacement and mixed severity wildfires. In fact, the long-term persistence of BBWO populations may depend on the frequency of recently burned patches within their dispersal range. Unfortunately, we do not know the dispersal range of BBWO. More

how the fire-dependent black-backed woodpecker locates and persists in recently burned forests. In order to determine their genetic population structure and dispersal ability, a minimum of 20 genetic samples will be obtained from black-backed woodpeckers and hairy woodpeckers (as a control group) at their nest sites. The information obtained will be used to decide the appropriate scale for surveying, monitoring and managing these woodpeckers, especially the fire-dependent black-backed woodpecker. Woodpeckers will be sampled from large-scale fires within Glacier National Park. More

Black-backed Woodpecker - Picoides arcticusIn South Dakota, the Black-backed Woodpecker is generally found only in the higher elevation Black Hills, frequenting burned forest areas and windfalls as well as healthy conifer forest. Feeding primarily on wood-boring insects and insect larvae, they forage by stripping large pieces of bark off of trees and feeding on the exposed insects. They are closely related to the very similar Three-toed Woodpecker, and indeed used to be called the "Black-backed Three-toed Woodpecker". More

For the black-backed woodpecker, Michigan sits on the southern edge. This woodpecker, was also known as the three-toed arctic woodpecker, is primarily found in northern boreal forests. Black-backed WoodpeckerThe black-backed woodpecker is a small woodpecker ranging 8-9 inches in length. Males can be easily identified by the yellow patch of feathers on the crown of their black head. Both sexes have a glossy, black back with some barring on the primary feathers. More

Black-backed woodpeckerFire suppression has dramatically altered the diversity of habitats across Sierra Nevada forested landscapes and severely reduced the amount of early post-fire habitat available to fire-dependent species like the Black-backed woodpecker. Between 1940 and 1987, the amount of Black-backed woodpecker habitat was reduced, as a result of fire suppression, to less than 19% of the natural, pre-fire-suppression level. More

Black-backed Woodpecker Head Illustration Head * Bill Shape: Dagger, All-purpose * Eye Color: Brown or gray-brown in hatch year and early second year birds developing to red-brown in older birds. More

The black-backed woodpecker can also be found in swamps and mixed deciduous/coniferouse forests usually above 3000 feet. In the winter this bird will wander into lower elevation coniferous forests below 3000 feet. The black-backed often shares its habitat with the similar three-toed woodpecker (Picoides tridactylus), which differs in that its back is decorated with a conspicuous white ladder pattern. Both of these species differ from other woodpeckers in that they have only three toes instead of four. More

black-backed woodpeckers and other fire-dependent species, changes in fire suppression priorities and salvage logging strategies are needed. If you'd like to learn more about the status of burned forests or the black-backed woodpecker, click on More

Order : Piciformes
Family : Picidae
Genus : Picoides
Species : arcticus
Authority : (Swainson, 1832)