Nature Journal
with Photos

Three-toed Woodpecker Identification Tips
(Credit: U. S. Geological Survey)
General Information
- Medium-sized black and white woodpecker
- Black head
- Narrow postocular stripe widens towards rear of head and extends down neck
- White moustachial stripe
- White throat, breast, and belly
- White flanks with black barring
- White back barred with black (in most races)
- Black wings marked with white spots on flight feathers
- Black rump
- Black tail with white outer tail feathers that are barred inwardly with black
- Rocky Mountain subspecies (P. t. dorsalis) has an entirely white back
- Eastern subspecies (P. t. bacatus) has a dark, heavily barred back
- Western subspecies (P. t. fasciatus) has a whitish, sparsely barred back

Adult male
- Yellow cap at top of head with fuzzy edges

Similar species
Since Hairy Woodpeckers can have barred backs in the Maritimes provinces and Rocky Mountain Three-toed Woodpeckers have entirely white backs, it is best to concentrate on the barred flanks, much darker face, and narrow postocular stripe of the Three-toed Woodpecker there.

Black-backed Woodpecker is distinguished from the Three-toed Woodpecker by the entirely black back, postocular stripe which does not extend down neck, and wholly white outer tail feathers.
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