(noun) The back of a bird's neck from the base of the skull to the upper back. The color of the nape will often match either the bird's crown or back, and that color may extend onto the sides of the neck to varying degrees depending on the species. Many songbirds and raptors have very short necks and the nape is a relatively small area, while waterfowl and wading birds typically have longer necks with a more distinct nape.
When using the nape to identify a bird, note color differences and contrasts compared to the head, crown and back. The nape may also have spots, streaks or stripes, and the width of color on the nape can vary and can be a useful field mark. For example, the nape is dark on both Clark's grebes and western grebes, but Clark's grebes have a much narrower band of color. Many woodpeckers have colored napes that can be useful for identifying bird genders, such as the red nape on males for both hairy woodpeckers and downy woodpeckers, while the nape on the females is black.
Photo – Red-Bellied Woodpecker © Manjith Kainickara