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23 cm. Black back, sides barred black-and-white, white throat, chest and belly, black face with white and black "moustache", white face stripe extending from above bill to nape, black tail with white outer feathers, slate grey bill, deep reddish eyes, blue-grey legs and feet, 3 toes on each foot.
Juvenile - similar to adult but duller, with dull black crown (yellow patch reduced or absent), and underparts washed buff.
This is a monotypic species.
Boreal forests, beaver ponds.
It nests in hole in trunk of tree; chips or wood fibres in bottom of cavity. 3-4 white eggs are laid.
The diet includes larvae of bark beetles and wood-boring beetles.
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