The three-toed woodpeckers range further north then any other woodpecker in the world. At one time there was only one species of three-toed woodpecker but thanks to DNA testing they were split into the American three-toed woodpecker and the Eurasian three-toed woodpecker. The Eurasian three-toed is found across Northern Europe and Russia. The American three-toed is found in Alaska, Canada and parts of the northern United States. These photos were taken in the Sax Zim Bog in northern Minnesota.
Three-toed woodpeckers are usually permanent residents with in their range, however some three-toed may migrate during the winter if food is scarce. They eat the larvae of different wood-boring and bark beetles. Unlike many other woodpeckers they do not usually bore into the wood in search of prey. Instead they use their beak to pry and scrape the outside bark from the tree leaving the insects beneath exposed. They then use their long and agile tongue to suck up the larvae. Three-toed woodpeckers can be confused with the black-back woodpecker, another three toed woodpecker found with in much of the same range, however the black-back has a completely black back where the three-toed has white speckles on black.