A curious aspect of the Black-backed Woodpecker’s distribution is its absence from the central and southern Rocky Mountains, even though it occurs throughout the Sierra Nevada of central California. More research is needed to see if these populations can be distinguished as subspecies. These forests are often bursting with birds and harbor many species of woodpeckers, all but guaranteeing great birding. In New England, the Black-backed Woodpecker is found year round in the far northeastern corner of Vermont, northern New Hampshire, and northern and western Maine. Christmas Bird Count Map Over much of their range, the secret to finding Black-backed Woodpeckers boils down to finding burned forests between about 1 and 8 years old. Physically it resembles the Black-backed Woodpecker, although it’s a bit smaller with a shorter bill. Black-backed Woodpecker by Tom Johnson | Macaulay Library. After the trees have died, they will pry the bark from the trunks in search of grubs and insects. It is an inky black bird with a sharp white stripe on its black face, fine black barring on the flanks, and, in males, a yellow crown patch. (See eBird map below), Map from eBird Black-backed, American Three-toed, and Eurasian Three-toed Woodpeckers have only three toes on each foot; all other woodpeckers have four. Description, range, habitat, calls, identification tips, and behavior. Black-backed Woodpeckers moved into many affected towns and cities, far south of their normal range, to feed on beetles that infested the dying trees. Black-backed Woodpecker. Get Instant ID help for 650+ North American birds. During the 1950s and 1960s, Dutch elm disease ravaged elm trees planted in urban areas in the Northeast. After a fire, many plants and animals—including western wood pewees, western bluebirds, morel mushrooms, wood-boring beetles, and, most notably, black-backed woodpeckers—begin to live in the burned areas. It is an inky black bird with a sharp white stripe on its black face, fine black barring on the flanks, and, in males, a yellow crown patch. Year-round sightings of the Black-backed Woodpecker over the past 10 years (2009-2019) Three-toed woodpeckers are uncommon in New Mexico, found at higher elevations in the forested north part of the state. These irruptions have been attributed to changes in abundance of their wood-boring insect prey or to overpopulation of the woodpeckers following an insect outbreak. Nearly synonymous with burned forests over much of its range, the Black-backed Woodpecker specializes on eating big, juicy wood-boring beetle larvae. Otherwise, the black and white bars on the back and presence of a … Order:  Piciformes Garden Shop, New England is located in the northeastern United States Includes range map, photos, and calls. “This bird [the black-backed woodpecker] screams fire,” said Dick Hutto, an emeritus professor at the University of Montana. Nearly synonymous with burned forests over much of its range, the Black-backed Woodpecker specializes on eating big, juicy wood-boring beetle larvae. U.S./Canada Population Estimate: 1,800,000 Population Trend: Increasing Habitat: Boreal and mountain forest Threats: Habitat loss, fire suppression, post-fire salvage logging Note: Like American Three-toed Woodpeckers, Black-backed Woodpeckers thrive in burned forests, where they harvest wood-boring beetle larvae. Look for stands of large, thick-barked trees where patches of bark have been chipped away. Where the two species are found together, the Black-backed usually dominates, perhaps driving the Three-toed away from choice feeding or nesting areas. Historical CBC Map from USGS, Birds | Mammals | Butterflies This bird is also found locally in other areas of Maine. In most such areas, the woodpeckers had not been detected previously—and have not been seen since. (From Audubon Field Guide), Black-backed Woodpecker These woodpeckers prefer burnt out forests. Winter records have occurred in Iowa, central Illinois, northern Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, New Jersey, and Delaware. Black-backed Woodpecker Habitat, diet, feeding behavior, nesting, and conservation status of this bird. Generally uncommon, but not so quiet or inconspicuous as the American Three-toed Woodpecker. (From WhatBird.com), Black-backed Woodpecker © 2001-2020 Nature of New England, Identification tips for Black-backed Woodpecker, Year-round sightings of the Black-backed Woodpecker over the past 10 years (2009-2019). Black-backeds often stay in one place for long periods and forage fairly low on the main trunk, allowing good views. (From Audubon Field Guide) Black-backed Woodpecker Description, range, habitat, calls, identification tips, and behavior. (From BirdWeb), Range in New England Family:  Picidae, Black-backed Woodpecker Woodpeckers(Order: Piciformes, Family:Picidae). Habitat, diet, feeding behavior, nesting, and conservation status of this bird. It’s been suggested that the loss of the fourth toe allows these species to lean farther back and deliver harder blows to the tree, possibly helping them excavate nest holes in harder (and therefore safer) wood. Listen for their sharp chip notes (with a bit of a lisp compared to Hairy Woodpeckers) and for drumming that trails off at the end (very similar to American Three-toed). Over time, this habit creates a ready supply of nest holes that can be used by so-called “secondary cavity nesters”—species like chickadees, nuthatches, bluebirds, and owls that nest in tree cavities but cannot excavate their own. The oldest recorded Black-backed Woodpecker was a male, and was at least 4 years, 11 months old when it was recaptured and rereleased during banding operations in Idaho. Black-backed Woodpecker Information. Both of these small U.S. populations face conservation challenges and were proposed for federal Endangered status in 2012. Black-backed Woodpeckers often forage on charred, blackish tree trunks, where their dark plumage helps them blend in remarkably well. Includes photos and range map. Description, habitat, behavior, diet, nesting, and conservation status. Includes photos, illustration with field marks, and range map. Nearly synonymous with burned forests over much of its range, the Black-backed Woodpecker specializes on eating big, juicy wood-boring beetle larvae. The Black-backed Woodpecker is one of the two northern woodpeckers and the American Three-toed Woodpecker is the other. It is an inky black bird with a sharp white stripe on its black face, fine black barring on the flanks, and, in males, a yellow crown patch. Both birds can be seen in search of food in the southern regions in the winter months. 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