Black-backed Woodpecker

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[Photograph]: Black-backed woodpecker
Photo courtesy of

(Picoides arcticus)

Habitat and Biology:
Black-backed woodpeckers help maintain healthy forests by eating wood-boring beetles, ants and other insects. This woodpecker uses a variety of forest habitats where snags are abundant. It nests in live and dead trees (snags) that are at least 7" in diameter and have dead heartwood. Usually 4 eggs are laid. Highest densities of black-backed woodpeckers have been found in forests which have been burned in the previous 3-5 years.

Black-backed woodpeckers select habitats with a higher density of snags than other woodpeckers. One threat to this species is salvage logging on burned areas; leaving part of the burn unlogged, or retaining at least 42 snags per acre, provides habitat for black-backed woodpeckers.

Interesting Facts:

  • One black-backed woodpecker can eat over 13,000 insects each year.
  • This woodpecker often feeds by flicking the bark off a tree, rather than digging a deep hole into the tree trunk.
  • Black-backed woodpeckers occasionally eat tree cambium and some fruits.

Learn more about the Black-backed woodpecker:  

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