American Three-toed Woodpecker

Basic Description

The American Three-toed Woodpecker (Picoides dorsalis) is a small black and white bird that measures approximately 8 inches in length. This woodpecker has a distinctive red cap, and its back is predominantly black with white spots. It also has three toes on each foot, unlike most other woodpeckers that have four toes.

Where To Find This Bird

This species of woodpecker can be found throughout Canada, the United States Rocky Mountains region, as well as parts of Alaska. They prefer to live in coniferous forests at high elevations where they can nest in dead trees or snags.


The American Three-toed Woodpeckers are highly adapted to living in mountainous regions with cold climates. They prefer to inhabit mature spruce-fir forests where dead trees are abundant for them to use as nesting sites. These birds tend to stay relatively close to their breeding territory year-round due to the harshness of winter conditions at higher elevations.


As members of the Picidae family, these birds primarily feed on insects by drilling into tree bark with their strong bills. The American Three-toed Woodpeckers will consume ants, beetles, and caterpillars from crevices within the bark or under lichen mats covering tree trunks.

Cool Facts

– Unlike other woodpeckers who drum on trees for communication purposes during mating season or territorial disputes; three-toed woodpeckers make rattling sounds instead.
– Despite being classified as non-migratory birds due to their relatively low movement between seasons compared with some other avian species; it’s believed that they exhibit altitudinal migration moving up and down different elevations within their range depending on available food sources.
– Despite their small size, these birds are considered to be quite tough due to their hardiness in cold mountainous environments.