On Jan 11, 2009, Grasmussen from Anchorage, AK (Zone 4a) wrote:
Only the males have a yellow spot on the back of the head.
American Three-toed Woodpeckers have black and white barring down center of the back.
On Jan 2, 2009, rntx22 from Houston, TX (Zone 9a) wrote:
Remember - most woodpeckers have 4 toes. This bird (and the black backed w.p.) only has 3 toes - hence the name.
From my Thayer's guide & Cornell:
Size: 9 inches
Medium-sized black and white woodpecker (more black than white)
Black and white barred back
White underparts with barred flanks
Narrow postocular stripe widens towards rear of head and extends down neck
White moustachial stripe
White throat, breast, and belly
Black wings marked with white spots on flight feathers
Black tail with white outer tail feathers that are barred inwardly with black
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