RED-NAPED SAPSUCKER


Sphyrapicus nuchalis


Description:

The Red-naped Sapsucker feeds on sap by drilling concentric rings of shallow wells in a tree. It also feeds on insects trapped in the sap wells.


Appearance:

General: Black head with a white stripe passing above the eye and extending to the nape and down the neck. White stripe below the eye that extends from the bill down the side of the neck. Red forehead and nape. Incomplete black border surrounds the throat and extends from a black breast patch. Black back with faint white bars. Black wings, with white barring on flight feathers and a white patch on coverts. Dark tail with black and white barring on centralmost and outermost retricies. White rump. Yellow belly fades to white on lower belly. Sparsely streaked flanks. Black bill. 7 to 8 inches in length.

Adult Male: Red throat.

Adult Female: White upper throat, red lower throat.

Juvenile: Brownish, streaked, head. White head stripes are weakly visible. The chest is pale and barred with brown. Yellow belly sparsely streaked and barred with brown. Wings and back similar to adult.

Note: Yellow-bellied Sapsucker has complete, uninterrupted black throat border. Yellow-bellied's can sometimes have a red nape patch.


Habitat:

Edges of coniferous forests, pine, aspen, and alder woodlands.


Nesting:

4-6 white eggs. The incubation period is 12-13 days. Fledging occurs 25-29 days after hatching. The nest is a cavity excavated in a tree. Interbreeds with the Yellow-bellied at the eastern edge of its breeding range and with the Red-breasted to the West. The resulting hybrids can be difficult to identify.


Observed Locations:

  • Paso Picaco campground, Cuyamaca State Park





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Copyright © Scott Streit, 2000.