Black-backed Woodpecker

Photo Credit: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service


  • Species Common Name Black-backed Woodpecker
  • Species Scientific Name Picoides arcticus
  • State Listing Status Sensitive


Special needs

Black-backed Woodpeckers inhabit forested areas, usually above 5,000 feet. They use dead trees with heartrot for nesting and those with high densities of wood-boring beetles for foraging. They may be associated with large-scale forest disturbances that produce a high density of snags (e.g., forest fires, disease pockets, and bark beetle outbreaks).

Limiting factors

Black-backed Woodpeckers are rare and locally distributed in Oregon. Given their apparent dependence on older forests and diet specialization, reductions in snag availability due to fire suppression and forest health management may limit distribution.

Conservation actions

Maintain areas of high snag density, especially above 5,000 feet where compatible with other forest management objectives. As an example, bark beetle-infested trees could be retained in areas where they present low risk of insect infestation to adjacent forests, thereby providing some habitat value for Black-backed Woodpeckers.

Key reference or plan

Conservation Strategy for Landbirds of the East-Slope of the Cascade Mountains in Oregon and Washington