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: Resident in Alaska, Canada, and northern U.S. Preferred habitats include coniferous forests in the boreal zone, especially where burned, logged, or swampy.
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.
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.