Picoides arcticus - (Swainson, 1832)
Black-backed Woodpecker
Other English Common Names: black-backed woodpecker
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Picoides arcticus (Swainson, 1832) (TSN 178250)
French Common Names: pic à dos noir
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.102076
Element Code: ABNYF07090
Informal Taxonomy: Animals, Vertebrates - Birds - Other Birds
Image 10987

© Jeff Nadler

 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Animalia Craniata Aves Piciformes Picidae Picoides
Genus Size: C - Small genus (6-20 species)
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Concept Reference
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Concept Reference: American Ornithologists' Union (AOU). 1998. Check-list of North American birds. Seventh edition. American Ornithologists' Union, Washington, D.C. [as modified by subsequent supplements and corrections published in The Auk]. Also available online: http://www.aou.org/.
Concept Reference Code: B98AOU01NAUS
Name Used in Concept Reference: Picoides arcticus
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: G5
Global Status Last Reviewed: 18Dec2017
Global Status Last Changed: 02Dec1996
Ranking Methodology Used: Ranked by calculator
Rounded Global Status: G5 - Secure
Reasons: Species can be relatively common in suitable habitat such as burned forest and is widespread across northern North America. Habitat may be threatened by fire suppression and post burn logging, although absolute impacts are difficult to determine.
Nation: United States
National Status: N4 (19Mar1997)
Nation: Canada
National Status: N5 (03Jan2018)

U.S. & Canada State/Province Status
Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
United States Alaska (S3), California (S2), Idaho (S4), Maine (S4), Massachusetts (S1N), Michigan (S2), Minnesota (SNR), Montana (S3), Nevada (S1), New Hampshire (S3S4), New Jersey (SNA), New York (S3?), Oregon (S3), South Dakota (S3), Vermont (S2), Washington (S3), Wisconsin (S1S3B), Wyoming (S1)
Canada Alberta (S3), British Columbia (S4S5B), Labrador (S4), Manitoba (S5), New Brunswick (S4), Newfoundland Island (S4), Northwest Territories (S5), Nova Scotia (S3S4), Ontario (S4), Prince Edward Island (S1), Quebec (S5), Saskatchewan (S4), Yukon Territory (S4)

Other Statuses

IUCN Red List Category: LC - Least concern

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent: 200,000-2,500,000 square km (about 80,000-1,000,000 square miles)
Range Extent Comments: Range extends from western and central Alaska to northern Saskatchewan and central Labrador, south to southeastern British Columbia, central California, northwestern Wyoming, southwestern South Dakota, central Saskatchewan, northern Minnesota, southeastern Ontario, and northern New England (AOU 1983). Species may occasionally stray further south during the winter.

Area of Occupancy: Unknown 1-km2 grid cells
Area of Occupancy Comments: Occupancy within range is difficult to determine. The species is eruptive, and abundance may increase in areas of burned forest following fire.

Number of Occurrences: > 300
Number of Occurrences Comments: A large number of occurrences have been documented across the species range

Population Size: 100,000 - 1,000,000 individuals
Population Size Comments: Population size is estimated at 1,800,000 individuals across North America (Rosenberg et al. 2016).

Number of Occurrences with Good Viability/Integrity: Very many (>125)
Viability/Integrity Comments: Given the large number of occurrences across a large geographic area, it is likely that at least 125 meet the criteria for good viability.

Overall Threat Impact: Medium - low
Overall Threat Impact Comments: Timber harvest, fire suppression, removal of fire-killed or insect-infested trees, and the conversion of mature and old-growth forests to young stands with few decayed trees pose significant threats to the species (Goggans 1989). Fire suppression has dramatically altered the diversity of habitats across North American forested landscapes and severely reduced the amount of early post-fire habitat available to this and other fire-dependent species. In the U.S., for example, the extent of wildfires declined more than 96 percent between 1930 and the late 1980's, from 20 million hectares per year to less than 800,000 hectares per year (Stohlgren 1998). In the Great Basin, at the southern periphery of its range, it is considered vulnerable to extirpation based on its rarity, habitat specialization, and limited distribution in the region's mountain ranges (Reed 1995). In Canada, fire suppression has reduced forest fire extent by more than 80 percent since the 1930s in the Montane Cordillera, Mixedwood Plains, and Atlantic Maritime ecozones. In the Montane Cordillera, timber harvest (particularly after a 1970s-1980s outbreak of mountain pine beetle) has now replaced fire as the major disturbance. In the Boreal Shield, Boreal Cordillera, and Boreal Plains ecozones, however, the area burned annually by wildfires increased through the 1980s to reach 1930 levels or above. This would have a positive affect on population if burns are not salvage logged in the first five years post-fire. In the 1970s, spruce budworm infected large areas in the Boreal Shield and Atlantic Maritime ecozones, which could attract black-backed woodpeckers to recently-killed trees as wood-borers increased, but the general management response has been to harvest damaged stands and apply chemical and biological insect controls. Timber harvest has doubled since 1960 in Canada, from 460,000 hectares annually to more than 800,000 hectares in 1992 (Environment Canada 1997).

Short-term Trend: Unknown
Short-term Trend Comments: Has probably undergone declines over the twentieth century due to fire suppression, cutting of snags, and loss of mature and old-growth forests, but reliable trend and status information is lacking. Irregular population irruptions and population extensions outside resident ranges occur in response to fires and insect outbreaks, temporarily boosting local populations (Bock and Bock 1974, Yunick 1985). Are rarely detected on the North American Breeding Survey (BBS), and there are relatively few BBS survey routes in montane and northern boreal forests. Data are adequate only for the broadest-scale trend estimates. Existing BBS data show generally stable overall trends between 1966 and 1996, with a nonsignificant increase survey-wide (average 2.2 percent increase per year; P = 0.55; N = 59 survey routes), and a significant increase in the Northern Spruce-Hardwood physiographic region (average 6.6 percent per year; P = 0.00, N = 26; Sauer et al. 1997). More recent trends for the period from 1980 to 1996 show possible widespread declines. Data show a nonsignificant decline survey-wide (-4.9 percent average per year; P = 0.20; N = 49), and significant declines in Canada (-9.0 percent average per year; P = 0.04, N = 24) and the Northern Spruce-Hardwoods physiographic region (-10.2 percent average per year; P = 0.02; N = 22). Sample sizes in other regions are too small for reliable trend estimates (Sauer et al. 1997). The Christmas Bird Count (CBC) also rarely detects the species, and sample sizes are minimal for trend estimates. Between 1959 and 1988, CBC data indicate generally stable to positive trends, but a significant decline in Minnesota (-3.0 percent average per year; N = 15 survey circles), and a significant increase in Ontario (1.3 percent average per year; N = 61; Sauer et al. 1996).

Long-term Trend: Relatively Stable (<=10% change)
Long-term Trend Comments: Breeding Bird Survey data are mostly of low to medium credibility across North America. In regions with medium credibility (Eastern, Boreal Softwood Shield, Great Basin) trend appears stable between 1965 and 2015 (Sauer et al. 2017).

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Distribution
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Global Range: (200,000-2,500,000 square km (about 80,000-1,000,000 square miles)) Range extends from western and central Alaska to northern Saskatchewan and central Labrador, south to southeastern British Columbia, central California, northwestern Wyoming, southwestern South Dakota, central Saskatchewan, northern Minnesota, southeastern Ontario, and northern New England (AOU 1983). Species may occasionally stray further south during the winter.

U.S. States and Canadian Provinces

Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
Color legend for Distribution Map
NOTE: The maps for birds represent the breeding status by state and province. In some jurisdictions, the subnational statuses for common species have not been assessed and the status is shown as not-assessed (SNR). In some jurisdictions, the subnational status refers to the status as a non-breeder; these errors will be corrected in future versions of these maps. A species is not shown in a jurisdiction if it is not known to breed in the jurisdiction or if it occurs only accidentally or casually in the jurisdiction. Thus, the species may occur in a jurisdiction as a seasonal non-breeding resident or as a migratory transient but this will not be indicated on these maps. See other maps on this web site that depict the Western Hemisphere ranges of these species at all seasons of the year.
Endemism: occurs (regularly, as a native taxon) in multiple nations

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States AK, CA, ID, MA, ME, MI, MN, MT, NH, NJ, NV, NY, OR, SD, VT, WA, WI, WY
Canada AB, BC, LB, MB, NB, NF, NS, NT, ON, PE, QC, SK, YT

Range Map
Note: Range depicted for New World only. The scale of the maps may cause narrow coastal ranges or ranges on small islands not to appear. Not all vagrant or small disjunct occurrences are depicted. For migratory birds, some individuals occur outside of the passage migrant range depicted. For information on how to obtain shapefiles of species ranges see our Species Mapping pages at www.natureserve.org/conservation-tools/data-maps-tools.

Range Map Compilers: NatureServe 2008


U.S. Distribution by County Help
State County Name (FIPS Code)
CA Alpine (06003), Amador (06005), El Dorado (06017), Fresno (06019), Lassen (06035), Madera (06039), Mariposa (06043), Modoc (06049), Mono (06051), Nevada (06057), Placer (06061), Plumas (06063), Shasta (06089), Sierra (06091), Siskiyou (06093), Tulare (06107), Tuolumne (06109)
MI Alger (26003)*, Chippewa (26033), Delta (26041)*, Dickinson (26043)*, Lake (26085), Luce (26095), Mackinac (26097), Marquette (26103), Oscoda (26135)
MT Broadwater (30007), Flathead (30029), Gallatin (30031), Lewis and Clark (30049), Lincoln (30053), Madison (30057), Mineral (30061), Missoula (30063), Powder River (30075), Powell (30077), Ravalli (30081), Rosebud (30087), Sanders (30089)
NH Coos (33007), Grafton (33009)
NV Douglas (32005), Washoe (32031)
SD Custer (46033), Lawrence (46081), Meade (46093), Pennington (46103)
VT Bennington (50003), Caledonia (50005), Essex (50009), Lamoille (50015), Orleans (50019)
WA Chelan (53007), Columbia (53013), Ferry (53019), Garfield (53023), Kittitas (53037), Okanogan (53047), Pierce (53053), Skamania (53059), Spokane (53063), Stevens (53065), Yakima (53077)
WY Big Horn (56003), Crook (56011), Fremont (56013), Johnson (56019), Lincoln (56023), Natrona (56025)*, Park (56029), Teton (56039), Weston (56045)
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
01 Upper Androscoggin (01040001)+, Lower Androscoggin (01040002)+, Upper Connecticut (01080101)+, Passumpsic (01080102)+, Waits (01080103)+, West (01080107)+
04 Betsy-Chocolay (04020201)+, Tahquamenon (04020202)+, Waiska (04020203)+, Menominee (04030108)+*, Cedar-Ford (04030109)+*, Escanaba (04030110)+, Tacoosh-Whitefish (04030111)+*, Pere Marquette-White (04060101)+, Manistee (04060103)+, Brevoort-Millecoquins (04060107)+, Carp-Pine (04070002)+, Au Sable (04070007)+, Lamoille River (04150405)+, St. Francois River (04150500)+
10 Madison (10020007)+, Upper Missouri (10030101)+, Upper Missouri-Dearborn (10030102)+, Sun (10030104)+, Yellowstone Headwaters (10070001)+, Popo Agie (10080003)+, Big Horn Lake (10080010)+, North Fork Shoshone (10080012)+, Upper Tongue (10090101)+, Lower Tongue (10090102)+, Middle Fork Powder (10090201)+, Upper Powder (10090202)+, South Fork Powder (10090203)+, Upper Little Missouri (10110201)+, Beaver (10120107)+, Middle Cheyenne-Spring (10120109)+, Rapid (10120110)+, Middle Cheyenne-Elk (10120111)+, Upper Belle Fourche (10120201)+, Lower Belle Fourche (10120202)+, Redwater (10120203)+, Middle North Platte-Casper (10180007)+*
14 Upper Green (14040101)+
16 Central Bear (16010102)+, Lake Tahoe (16050101)+, Truckee (16050102)+
17 Upper Kootenai (17010101)+, Fisher (17010102)+, Yaak (17010103)+, Lower Kootenai (17010104)+, Blackfoot (17010203)+, Middle Clark Fork (17010204)+, Bitterroot (17010205)+, North Fork Flathead (17010206)+, Middle Fork Flathead (17010207)+, South Fork Flathead (17010209)+, Stillwater (17010210)+, Lower Flathead (17010212)+, Lower Clark Fork (17010213)+, Lower Spokane (17010307)+, Franklin D. Roosevelt Lake (17020001)+, Colville (17020003)+, Sanpoil (17020004)+, Okanogan (17020006)+, Lake Chelan (17020009)+, Upper Columbia-Entiat (17020010)+, Upper Yakima (17030001)+, Naches (17030002)+, Snake headwaters (17040101)+, Gros Ventre (17040102)+, Greys-Hobock (17040103)+, Lower Snake-Tucannon (17060107)+, Walla Walla (17070102)+, Klickitat (17070106)+, Upper Cowlitz (17080004)+, Puyallup (17110014)+
18 Lost (18010204)+, Butte (18010205)+, Upper Pit (18020002)+, Lower Pit (18020003)+, Mccloud (18020004)+, North Fork Feather (18020121)+, East Branch North Fork Feather (18020122)+, Middle Fork Feather (18020123)+, Upper Yuba (18020125)+, North Fork American (18020128)+, South Fork American (18020129)+, Battle Creek (18020153)+, Upper Kern (18030001)+, South Fork Kern (18030002)+, Upper King (18030010)+, Upper San Joaquin (18040006)+, Upper Merced (18040008)+, Upper Tuolumne (18040009)+, Upper Stanislaus (18040010)+, Mono Lake (18090101)+, Crowley Lake (18090102)+
+ Natural heritage record(s) exist for this watershed
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
Ecology & Life History
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Basic Description: A bird (woodpecker).
General Description: The all-black back and barred sides are diagnostic. It can be detected by its call note, a single metallic "kyik" or "chet" (similar to Hairy Woodpecker, PICOIDES VILLOSUS). Also uses a unique agonistic "wet-et-ddd-eee-yaaa," or "scream-rattle-snarl" call in association with a hunched wing-spreading display (Short 1974). Drumming is variable (fast or slow) in long, even rolls (Farrand 1983; Goggans 1989). Drumming described as coming in 2-second bursts that taper off at end, at intervals of 30-40 seconds, suggestive of pileated woodpeckers (DRYOCOPUS PILEATUS); also gives single raps when nervous or about to roost (Kilham 1966). See Short (1974) and Anonymous (1992) for descriptions of calls and drumming.
Reproduction Comments: Nests in late spring and early summer. Pair bonding and courtship begin in April, excavates nest in early May (Goggans 1989; NSMNH 1999). Clutch size is two to six (usually four). Incubation, by both sexes, may last 12-14 days. Young are altricial, tended by both parents, fledge in about 25 days (Ehrlich et al. 1988). In Oregon, success rate for 19 nests was 63 percent (Goggans et al. 1989).
Ecology Comments: Intraspecifically territorial. In Oregon, home range size for three individuals was 72, 124, and 328 hectares; small home range size was associated with abundant mature/old growth timber (Goggans et al. 1988). In the Sierra Nevada, California, densities estimated at 0.2 pairs per 40 hectares (Raphael and White 1984). In northeastern and north-central forests, territory size estimated at 30 hectares and maximum density 3.3 pairs per 100 hectares (Evans and Conner 1979). In Idaho, home range of one male in breeding season 72 hectares (Dixon and Saab 2000). In Vermont, home range size reported to be 61 hectares (Lisi 1988).

See Short (1982) for a detailed description of habits, calls, and behavior.

Highly responsive to forest fire and other processes, such as spruce budworm outbreaks, that result in high concentrations of wood-boring insects invading dead trees. Local and regional irruptions and range extensions have been observed in response to burns and wood-borer outbreaks (West and Spiers 1959, Bock and Bock 1974, Kingery 1977, Yunick 1985).

Non-Migrant: Y
Locally Migrant: N
Long Distance Migrant: N
Mobility and Migration Comments: A resident species. Seasonal movements unstudied, but birds apparently move in response to local increases in food availability.
Palustrine Habitat(s): FORESTED WETLAND, Riparian
Terrestrial Habitat(s): Forest - Conifer, Forest - Mixed
Special Habitat Factors: Standing snag/hollow tree
Habitat Comments: Associated with boreal and montane coniferous forests, especially in areas with standing dead trees such as burns, bogs, and windfalls; less frequently in mixed forest and rarely in winter in deciduous woodland (AOU 1983). Distribution is closely associated with closed boreal forests and montane coniferous forests. The northern limits appear to coincide with the limit of continuous pine forest (Bock and Bock 1974). Extremely restricted in its use of habitat types and is strongly associated with recently burned forests (Raphael and White 1984, Hutto 1995b). Found in pine (PINUS spp.) including jack pine (P. BANKSIANA), white pine (P. STROBUS), and lodgepole pine (PINUS CONTORTA); spruce (PICEA spp.) such as black spruce (P. MARIANA) and white spruce (P. GLAUCA); fir (ABIES spp.) such as boreal balsam fir (A. BALSAMEA), and red fir (A. MAGNIFICA), Douglas-fir (PSEUDOTSUGA MENZIESII) and tamarack (LARIX spp.; Bock and Bock 1974, Goggans 1989, Villard and Beninger 1993, Villard 1994, Darveau et al. 1995).

In Montana, it is more abundant in lower elevation pine and Douglas-fir forests than in high-elevation subalpine spruce forests (Bock and Bock 1974). In the northern Rocky Mountains of the United States, a region-wide landbird survey and extensive literature review revealed that the species is almost exclusively associated with early successional burned forests, although it is occasionally observed in mixed conifer, lodgepole pine, Douglas-fir, and spruce-fir forests (Hutto 1995a, 1995b). Hutto (1995b) found that the number of small trees present in a burn served as the best correlate of species abundance.

May invade burns immediately after a fire, but use of burns appears to be restricted to the first years following a fire, as long as wood-boring insects are present and abundant. In Alberta, a pair nested within two weeks following a severe fire and successfully raised young (Villard and Scheick 1996). In a 1945 burn in the Kootenai National Forest, Montana, a local irruption of more than 20 birds was observed in November, four months after the fire (Blackford 1955). In jack pine-black spruce forest in Minnesota, were absent in a 6.25 hectares study site prior to a burn, but moved in after the area burned in a wildfire, becoming one of the most prominant bird species after the fire (Apfelbaum and Haney 1981). In Teton National Park, Wyoming, were recorded for the first time in the park in 1976 following a 3,500-acre wildfire in 1974 (Kingery 1977).

In a survey of burns across Teton and Yellowstone National Parks in Wyoming, were present from one to three years after severe and moderate fires, but were not recorded on older burns. By two years post-fire, populations of wood-borers declined, and black-backed and three-toed woodpeckers likewise dropped off (Taylor and Barmore 1980). In California, occurred in burned sites six to eight years after fire, but were not recorded during surveys 15-19 years and 21-25 years post-fire, although they were present in very low densities during all periods in unburned control plots (Raphael et al. 1987).

Hutto (1995b) suggests that a mosaic of recently burned forests may represent source habitat, where local reproduction exceeds mortality. The low densities of woodpeckers in unburned forests may be sink populations that are maintained by birds that move into these areas as conditions on post-fire habitats become less suitable over time.

NEST SITE: Nests in a hole excavated in a hard snag, partially dead tree, or live tree with dead heartwood, also occasionally in a stump, fence post, or utility pole. Male does most of the excavation. Nest cavity is usually 0.6-4.6 meters above ground, in trees averaging 21-23 centimeter dbh, in forest opening or in dense stand, often near water. Nests usually in a conifer such as pine, spruce, fir, or Douglas-fir (Scott et al. 1977).

In northwestern Montana western larch (LARIX OCCIDENTALIS)/Douglas-fir forests, nested in areas with a major component of old-growth, and used nest trees ranging from 8 to 12 centimeter dbh, averaging 10 centimeter dbh (N = 2; McClelland et al. 1979). In Idaho, used nest trees averaging 32.3 centimeter dbh (N = 15; Saab and Dudley 1998). In a study in the Sierra Nevada, California, favored partially dead trees and hard snags for nesting; used nest trees more than 41 centimeter dbh and more than 13 meters tall in both burned and unburned forest (Raphael and White 1984). In northeastern and north-central forests, Evans and Conner (1979) estimated optimum range of tree dimensions as 30-46 centimeter dbh and 6-12 meters tall.

FORAGING: In a study in northeastern Oregon, 97 percent of foraging occurred on ridges, the birds preferred to forage in lodgepole pine and ponderosa pine (PINUS PONDEROSA), and fed almost equally on live and dead trees. The species used trees averaging 31 centimeter dbh and 18 meters tall, with more than 40 percent of their needles intact, suggesting that they preferred live or recently dead trees (Bull et al. 1986). In the Sierra Nevada, California, concentrated foraging on live trees, but also used snags and logs, and most often used red fir and Jeffrey pine (PINUS JEFFREYI; Raphael and White 1984).

Adult Food Habits: Invertivore
Immature Food Habits: Invertivore
Food Comments: Bulk of diet is wood-boring beetle larvae (including MONOCHAMUS spp. and Englemann spruce beetle, DENDROCTONUS ENGELMANNI), but also feeds on other insects (e.g., weevils, beetles, spiders, ants); occasionally eats fruits, nuts, sap, and cambium (Wickman 1965 and Baldwin 1960, cited in Bull et al. 1986; Short 1974; Scott et al. 1977; Terres 1980). Woodpeckers may be attracted by the clearly audible chewings of wood-boring insects in recent burns (Taylor and Barmore 1980).

Obtains food by flaking bark from trees (usually dead conifers) and logs, sometimes by picking gleaning. Feeds primarily on logs and low on large-diameter tree trunks (more than 7.5 centimeter dbh; but most often 15-25 centimeter dbh; Short 1974, Villard 1994). Females feed young more often than males, but carry less food in each visit; although males visit less often they come with more food, and perhaps supply 50 percent to 75 percent of food to nestlings (Short 1974, Kilham 1983).

Adult Phenology: Diurnal
Immature Phenology: Diurnal
Length: 24 centimeters
Weight: 72 grams
Economic Attributes Not yet assessed
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Management Summary
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Stewardship Overview: A resident bird of North America's mature and old-growth boreal and montane coniferous forests with decadent trees, snags, and fallen logs. It is closely associated with recently-burned forest habitats and depends heavily on the larvae of wood-boring beetles (e.g., Monochamus spp.). It may require a dynamic mosaic of recent burns across a landscape to sustain populations. Uncommon to rare even in preferred habitats, populations may become locally common in response to fires and outbreaks of wood-boring insects. Population trends are poorly understood, but the species faces significant threats of habitat loss from fire suppression, loss of mature and old-growth forests, and removal of snags and insect-infested trees.
Species Impacts: An insectivorous bird, may be beneficial in reducing insect damage and epidemics (Evans and Conner 1979).
Restoration Potential: Uncommon in the landscape and populations may be depressed regionally due to fire suppression and logging of insect-killed trees. Sustaining and restoring viable populations will require a landscape and regional scale approach to habitat management, restoring natural fire regimes, allowing for natural patterns of insect infestation and disease to occur across landscapes, and maintaining fire-killed trees at least up to six years post-fire or until wood-boring insects decline. Further research is needed to better understand interactions in the dynamic context of forest fire and insect cycles.
Preserve Selection & Design Considerations: May use edge habitats for nesting between coniferous forest and burns, bogs, meadows, or logged areas (Kilham 1966, Raphael and White 1984). Apparently ranges widely outside of the breeding season in response to food availability, so managing habitat on a landscape (or even regional) scale would be important to the viability of the species.
Management Requirements: Management should focus on maintenance of natural patterns of forest fire, wood-boring insects, disease, and decay. Heartrot in trees and snags is important for nests, diseased trees for roosts, and beetle-infested trees for foraging (Harris 1982, Goggans et al. 1989, Rodrick and Milner 1991). Management recommendations include, (1) establish woodpecker management areas of approximately 405 hectares in appropriate habitat, with no salvage sales allowed; (2) retain all trees with nest cavities; (3) retain snags in harvested areas; (4) retain veteran trees and a mix of healthy and diseased trees for nesting; (5) for foraging, retain dead patches of trees in a variety of decay stages, especially insect host trees, and those susceptible to future insect occupancy; (6) retain some tall hard dead trees for woodpecker drumming; (7) limit insecticide use in forest habitats (Goggans et al. 1989, Rodrick and Milner 1991, Environment Canada 1997).

Estimations of the required snag densities vary widely. For the Cascade Range, U.S. Forest Service et al. (1993) recommended maintaining adequate numbers (0.05 per hectare) of large snags (greater than 43 centimeter dbh, if possible) and green tree replacements for future snags (can be left in groups to reduce blowdown), in hard decay stages, in stands of mixed conifer and lodgepole pine (PINUS CONTORTA) in higher elevations; also, beetle-infested trees should be maintained for foraging. Rodrick and Milner (1991) recommended retaining 12 snags (greater than 43 centimeter dbh) per 40 hectares in Washington habitats. In the Sierra Nevada, California, Raphael and White (1984) recommended 6 snags (greater than 41 centimeter dbh) per 40 hectares to support a maximum density of 0.5 pairs per 40 hectares. In northeastern and north-central forests, Evans and Conner (1979) estimated that each pair would require a minimum of 4 snags for nesting and roosting in each 30 hectare territory, and 52 snags per 40 hectares would be needed to maintain a maximum population.

Several studies illustrate the value of leaving dead trees and legacy areas. In logged boreal forests of the Laurentian Mountains, Quebec, the species nested in riparian leave strips (where adjacent forest had been clearcut) for the first two years after cutting, but were not recorded in any of the leave strip treatments in the third year (Darveau et al. 1995). In beetle-killed lodgepole pine forests of Oregon, salvage logging that retained live trees, partially dead trees, and dead ponderosa pine (PINUS PONDEROSA) but removed dead standing and downed lodgepole pine, did not adversely affect abundances (Arnett et al. 1997). In a stand-replacing fire in ponderosa pine/Douglas-fir (PSEUDOTSUGA MENZIESII) forest in Idaho, densities were more than double in unlogged burned stands as in units that had been salvage logged, although sample sizes were too small for statistical testing (Saab and Dudley 1998).

Where salvage logging of burns is inevitable, Hutto (1995b) suggests one strategy may be to take trees from one area of the burn, leaving another representative area intact that would retain the full complement of snag dimensions for the post-fire bird community. This could minimize the guesswork involved in choosing appropriate sizes and densities of trees and snags to retain across the entire burn.

Monitoring Requirements: Occurs in low densities even in favored habitats, so would require specialized monitoring to obtain adequate sample sizes. Surveys should be conducted in spring from 0.5 to 3.5 hours after sunrise. Best seasonal timing varies with elevation; in Oregon , usually from mid-April through May (Goggans 1989, Anonymous 1992). Nests are most readily located during the excavation period or between hatching and fledging (Goggans 1989, Anonymous 1992). Nest cavities are often conspicuous because woodpeckers remove bark from around the entrance, exposing the cambium, and usually excavate cavities at low heights (Goggans 1989). Nestlings are vocal in the nest. Close approach to the nest by an observer is possible (e.g., 4 meters), but male and female may differ in their tolerance and reactions (Short 1974, Kilham 1983).
Monitoring Programs: Is detected on the BBS and CBC in adequate numbers for trend analysis at the broadest scales. Also detected on the U.S. Forest Service Northern Region Landbird Monitoring Program. Specialized monitoring, however, is needed to provide information on trends and habitat relationships at smaller scales.
Management Research Needs: Has received little study in part due to its rarity in the landscape and due to difficult access into preferred habitats in some regions. Better information is needed on demographics, population density, population irruptions, and seasonal movements, breeding territory, home range sizes, productivity, survivorship, juvenile dispersal, and winter ecology. More detailed information is needed on habitat use, diet, and response to land management activities, particularly forest harvest patterns and changes in fire regimes. A better understanding is needed of the ecology and interactions with fire and insect infestations, including a comparison of densities and productivity between unburned forests and recent burns. Landscape relationships, including area sensitivity, juxtaposition of habitats, and use of corridors are virtually unknown.
Biological Research Needs: Most aspects of life history need further study, and opportunity exists to make substantial contributions to the understanding of the species. Much of the existing research has been conducted at the southern peripheries of the range and more study is needed in boreal forest habitats in the heart of its distribution.
Population/Occurrence Delineation
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Group Name: Woodpeckers

Use Class: Breeding
Minimum Criteria for an Occurrence: Evidence of historical breeding, or current and likely recurring breeding, at a given location, minimally a reliable observation of one or more breeding pairs in appropriate habitat. Be cautious about creating EOs for observations that may represent single breeding events outside the normal breeding distribution.
Separation Barriers: None.
Separation Distance for Unsuitable Habitat: 5 km
Separation Distance for Suitable Habitat: 5 km
Separation Justification: The high potential for gene flow among populations of birds separated by fairly large distances makes it difficult to circumscribe occurrences on the basis of meaningful population units without occurrences becoming too large. Hence, a moderate, standardized separation distance has been adopted for woodpeckers; it should yield occurrences that are not too spatially expansive while also accounting for the likelihood of gene flow among populations within a few kilometers of each other.

Be careful not to separate a population's nesting areas and foraging areas as different occurrences; include them in the same occurrence even if they are more than 5 km apart.

Territories generally smaller than non-breeding home ranges. Territories/home ranges: Red-headed Woodpecker, summer territories 3.1-8.5 hectares (Venables and Collopy 1989), winter territories smaller (0.17 hectare to 1 hectare (Williams and Batzli 1979, Venables and Collopy 1989, Moskovits 1978); Lewis's Woodpecker, 1.0-6.0 hectares (Thomas et al. 1979); Golden-fronted Woodpecker, summer ranges larger than breeding territories, ranging from 15.4 to 41.7 hectares (average 24.9, Husak 1997); Gila Woodpecker, pair territories ranged from 4.45 to 10.0 hectares (n = 5) (Edwards and Schnell 2000); Nuttall's Woodpecker, about 65 hectares (0.8 kilometers diameter; Miller and Bock 1972); Hairy Woodpecker: breeding territories averaged 2.8 hectares, range 2.4 to 3.2 hectares (Lawrence 1967); Black-backed Woodpecker, home ranges 61-328 hectares (Goggans et al. 1988, Lisi 1988, Dixon and Saab 2000); White-headed Woodpecker, mean home ranges 104 and 212 hectares on old-growth sites and 321 and 342 hectares on fragmented sites (Dixon 1995a,b); Williamson's Sapsucker, home ranges 4-9 hectares (Crockett 1975).

Fidelity to breeding site: high in Red-headed Woodpeckers--15 of 45 banded adults returned to vicinity following year (Ingold 1991); one adult moved 1.04 kilometers between breeding seasons (Belson 1998).

Inferred Minimum Extent of Habitat Use (when actual extent is unknown): .2 km
Inferred Minimum Extent Justification: Based on a conservatively small home range of 3 hectares.
Date: 10Sep2004
Author: Cannings, S., and G. Hammerson
Population/Occurrence Viability
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U.S. Invasive Species Impact Rank (I-Rank) Not yet assessed
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Authors/Contributors
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NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 19Dec2017
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author: D. Bachen (2017)
Management Information Edition Date: 19Jan2018
Management Information Edition Author: PAIGE, C.; REVISIONS BY M. KOENEN AND D.W. MEHLMAN, rev. Bachen, D. (2017)
Management Information Acknowledgments: Support for the preparation of this abstract was provided by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation's Neotropical Migratory Bird Conservation Initiative, through challenge grant number 97-270 to The Nature Conservancy, Wings of the Americas Program. Matching funds for this grant were donated by Canon U.S.A., Inc.
Element Ecology & Life History Edition Date: 06Mar1995
Element Ecology & Life History Author(s): HAMMERSON, G., MINOR REVISIONS BY S. CANNINGS

Zoological data developed by NatureServe and its network of natural heritage programs (see Local Programs) and other contributors and cooperators (see Sources).

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