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In the early afternoon of 2/9/19 I was driving down a country rd. here in central NC, just passed a newly clear cut woodland when a medium sized bird flew in front of me and landed on a tree at the edge of the rd. The way it landed on the side of the trunk of the tree I thought downy wood pecker but as I passed it I had a clear view of its back and it raised it's solid black wings and it was solid black all the way including neck and top of head. In raising its wings it revealed a solid white body (at least  it's lower body from behind). There were no long tail feathers and I could not see it from the front. Can not find anything in the guides, please help. 

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Thanks Charlie

Great suggestion had not been able to find any juvenile photos. Unlike the photo and description there was absolutely no white on the wings and the head matched the wings all black. It spread its wings fully in the air and the body feathers were almost completely uniform in size, no tail feathers.

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Gotta love trying to ID from descriptions. I struggle with it partially because I know how when I see something, what I remember later on changes or perhaps I didn't see it as good as I did.
So these days I try REALLY hard to make mental notes of specific features and HOPE I'll remember them, or write them down.

The juvenile red-headed woodpeckers I've seen have had more of a light black, or gray-ish head. And you would expect markings on the upper side of the wings...

https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Red-headed_Woodpecker/media-browser-overview/64992591

Something that wouldn't be quite as dark as "black" but fits a lot of other things here would be a white-breasted nuthatch. It would fly like a woodpecker and cling to the side of the tree. Upper side of wings and back all dark gray, black on top of head. Underside MOSTLY white.  And, they're one I've seen spread their wings in displays to intimidate other birds at my feeder. I wonder how tough it would be for me to track down one of my pictures of them doing this... hmmm

That's just what comes to mind...  again, it's just hard based on description.

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I'd have to really dig to find if I have any other nuthatch pictures with their wings spread... more importantly, from the back. This one doesn't show how it would look from the right angles but did find one with the wings spread, at the feeder.

 

nuttyhatch.JPG

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Thank you Millipede esp. for digging out the Nuthatch photo. I'm very familiar with the awesome nuthatch, see in my trees all the time usually upside down from my perspective. This was definitely not one. It was close to twice the size and when I say black I really mean black and covered the opened wings and back of head  on down the sides of the head. I know what you mean about descriptions and taking mental notes. The notes on this sighting were very straight forward. Landed on the tree trunk in the classic woodpecker pose,  unfurled wings revealing a solid white lower body. I kick myself for not pulling to the side of the road.

Quote

 

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Maybe check out Downy or Hairy Woodpeckers? Females do not have red.

EDIT: Also check out Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers. Their backs appear pretty much black in the field, and they have a prominent white rump which may have been partly what you saw when it opened its wings.

Edited by Melierax

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Thanks Melierax,

As I said in my original post when I saw it land on the tree trunk I assumed it was a Downy but as I got closer knew it was not. Have checked out all N American wood peckers and none really match. The closest bird I have found is a Puerto Rican woodpecker. Would love to find a photo of one from behind with wings out stretched. The problem of course is they don't leave the Island, maybe a Hurricane. 

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