Black-backed Woodpecker

photo by Phil Swanson

Picoides arcticus
L 9 1/2″ (24 cm).

Song or calls:
Sharp “kyik.” Drumming increases in tempo towards the end. 

Description: Solid black back; white underparts; heavily barred sides; narrow white line behind eye and wide white mustache. Male told from female by solid yellow cap.

Habitat: Coniferous forests, especially in burned over areas. Forages on dead conifers by flaking away bark rather than drilling holes.

Where in Nebraska: Accidental. Three early records from Douglas and Dakota County, and reported in Custer County in 1970.

Fun Facts: Black-backed Woodpeckers prefer burned forest areas where the insect community is dense after a fire and their all black back will blend in well with the burned trees.

Black-backed Woodpecker - photo by Phil Swanson
(click image for larger view)