Yellow-bellied Sapsucker - Photo Copyright Ward Cameron 2003 - Click to view a larger image Yellow-bellied Sapsucker - Photo Copyright Ward Cameron 2003 - Click to view a larger image Yellow-bellied Sapsucker - Photo Copyright Ward Cameron 2003 - Click to view a larger image Yellow-bellied Sapsucker - Photo Copyright Ward Cameron 2003 - Click to view a larger image  
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Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
Sphyrapicus varius

Woodpeckers
Woodpecker Family (Picidae)

Size: Length: 18-20 cm Wingspan: 36-41 cm

Description: This common woodpecker has a black and white body with a splash of red on the head. The head is black, but the male has a red forehead and throat, while females have a similar crown, but a white throat. The rest of the face is black with a white eyebrow line and a white moustache line. The wings, back and tail are black, with prominent white banding. The breast and belly is light with some banding visible.

Similar Species: The red-naped sapsucker has a small patch of red on the nape, which is lacking on the yellow-bellied. Two other woodpeckers, the downy woodpecker and the hairy woodpecker, lack the red on the crown and throat so visible in the yellow-bellied Sapsucker.

Range: The yellow-bellied sapsucker is an occasional migrant and nester in the four mountain parks of the Canadian Rockies, but is rare throughout the remainder of the Rocky Mountains.

Habitat: They are a bird of mixed wood forests. They are particularly fond of poplar and aspen groves, and will often be found near water or forest margins.

Diet: They eat insects, often drilling parallel rows of holes into the bark of aspen and other trees. As the sap flows to the holes, insects are attracted, and the sapsuckers return on a regular basis to feed.

Nesting: Sapsuckers excavate holes into trees, usually between 1.5 and 18 m (5-50 ft). The opening is generally 10-13 cm (4-5 in) across. The female lays 5-6 (up to 7) cream coloured eggs. Incubation is by both parents, lasting only 12 or 13 days. The altricial and naked nestlings are tended by both adults. They leave the nest after approximately 25-29 days.

Notes: Historically, the yellow-bellied and red-naped sapsuckers were considered to be a single species. They are now considered separate species, however they do hybridize where their ranges overlap.

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All Material Ward Cameron 2005

 

 

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