American Three-toed Woodpecker

Species Profile: American Three-toed Woodpecker

American Three-toed Woodpecker, Picoides dorsalis

Learn more about this species in the Peterson Reference Guide to Woodpeckers of North America.

Introduction to the species

“I heard a familiar purposeful tapping a short distance away in the burned forest. … not thirty yards away, we found a female Three-toed Woodpecker excavating a roost cavity near the top of a fifteen-foot snag. She sought shelter from the falling snow. Her cavity was already head-deep, and we watched in awe as the tiny chips flew.”
-S. Shunk 2007

Unpredictable, enigmatic, and discreet, the American Three-toed Woodpecker is for many birders the most sought-after woodpecker on the continent. Rarely is a Three-toed found far from dead or dying timber, whether insect- or fire-killed, but even in optimal habitat this quiet little bark beetle specialist can easily go undetected.


Gallery of photos of the 
American Three-toed Woodpecker by Steve Shunk

Return to List of Species of North American Woodpeckers page.

© 2016 Woodpecker Wonderland. Site by Christine Elder Illustration & Design