Black-backed Woodpecker

The Black-backed Woodpecker (Picoides arcticus) is a medium-sized bird that is native to the boreal forests of North America. The adult bird measures approximately 9-10 inches in length and weighs around 2.5 ounces. The male and female birds have similar physical characteristics, with a distinctive black back and white belly. The black back is a stark contrast to the bird’s white head, which has a red patch at the back of the crown.

One of the most distinguishing field marks of the Black-backed Woodpecker is its long, straight bill. The bill is chisel-shaped, making it easy for the bird to excavate holes in trees to find insects to eat. The bird’s feet are also adapted for climbing trees, with sharp claws and two toes pointing forward and two pointing backward.

Black-backed Woodpecker Adult

The Black-backed Woodpecker is a migratory bird and it spends the winter months in the southern part of its range, including parts of the United States and Mexico. During the summer months, the bird returns to its breeding grounds in the boreal forests of Canada and Alaska. The bird is a strong flier and can cover long distances during migration.

The Black-backed Woodpecker feeds mainly on insects and other invertebrates that it finds by pecking at the bark of dead and dying trees. The bird is an important species in maintaining the health of the boreal forest, as it helps to control insect populations and create nesting cavities for other bird species. The bird is also an indicator of the health of the forest, as declines in its population can indicate a decline in the forest’s health.

In conclusion, the Black-backed Woodpecker is a unique and important species that is well adapted to life in the boreal forests of North America. Its distinctive physical features, such as its black back, white head, and long, straight bill, make it easy to recognize in the field. The bird’s migratory habits and important role in maintaining the health of the forest make it a valuable species to study and protect.

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