Bird Observer: The Birding Journal for New England

Bird Observer

The Birding Journal for New England

August 2017

Vol. 45, No. 4

Distinctions between Three-toed and Black-backed Woodpeckers

Nicholas Komar


Black-backed Woodpecker (left). Photograph by Denis Fournier (CC BY 2.0). Three-toed Woodpecker (right). Photograph by David A Mitchell (CC BY 2.0).

The following comments on these two species of northern woodpecker (generically referred to as “three-toed”) are based on observations made during the 1985 breeding season (May 25-July 5) in the spruce-fir habitat along Realty Road in Aroostook County, Maine.

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