The black-backed woodpecker is virtually the only woodpecker in its range with a solid black back. It is separated from the similar three-toed woodpecker by the back, the larger bill, and the larger overall size. Males have a yellow crown patch but females can be recognized by the solid black crown, which is spotted with white on the three-toed.
Blackbacks are northern birds that inhabit bogs and burned over areas where they forage on dead and dying trees, flaking away the bark in search on insects. They are resident throughout the boreal forests of Canada and small numbers are found in the extreme northern United States.
Most of the time they are quiet and deliberate birds and are easy to overlook. They will drum in the spring, usually in a long slow series that slowly accelerates. They are not highly vocal and the common call is a sharp peek, similar to the call of hairy woodpecker but lower pitched and to some ears slightly more resonant.
Hear the black-backed woodpecker: