Picoides arcticus
(Black-backed Woodpecker)

Order: Piciformes
Order Description: Woodpeckers
Family: Picidae
Family Description: Woodpeckers

Physical Description:
Size: 9-10"(23-25cm). A black and white woodpecker. Back glossy black. Lacks any white patterning on its back. Head glossy black with a narrow white line behind the eye and heavy white mustache. Males have a yellow cap on their head. rump and tail black. Sides heavily barred. Belly white.

Similar Species- Three-toed Woodpecker has a white ladder pattern on its back and more white behind the eye. Hairy and Downy Woodpeckers have white on their backs and lack the barred sides.

Call note is a sharp Pik! Drumming sounds like a drum roll, increasing in tempo at the end.

Resident, often locally, from western and central Alaska to northern Saskachewan and central Labrador, and south to southeastern British Columbia, central California, northwestern Wyoming, portions of Great Plains states and Prairie Provinces, and northern New England. Wanders irregularly south in winter.

Found in coniferousClick word for definition forests (primarily spruce/fir), especially in windfalls and burned areas with standing dead trees. Found less frequently in mixed forests, and rarely in deciduousClick word for definition woodlands in winter.

Eats mainly wood- boring insects, but will also eat spiders, fruits, nuts, and some cambiumClick word for definition.

Excavates new cavity each year, in decaying tree or standing snag. Forages on bark. Populations can be irruptive in recent burns. Few nests have been located in Idaho. In Oregon, home range size varied from 70-324 ha, and there was no intraspecific overlap.

Both sexes incubateClick word for definition 2- 6 eggs (usually 4) for 14 days. Young are tended by both parents.

Element Code: ABNYF07090
Status: Protected nongame species
Global Rank: G5
State Rank: S3
National Rank: N4

Important State References:
Medin, D.E. 1985. Densities and nesting heights of breeding birds in a Idaho Douglas-fir forest. Northwest Sci. 59:45-52.

Design by Ean Harker©1999, 2000.
Written by Jason Karl, 2000.