Red-naped Sapsucker - Photo Copyright Ward Cameron 2003 - Click to view a larger image Red-naped Sapsucker - Photo Copyright Ward Cameron 2003 - Click to view a larger image Red-naped Sapsucker - Photo Copyright Ward Cameron 2003 - Click to view a larger image Red-naped Sapsucker - Photo Copyright Ward Cameron 2003 - Click to view a larger image  
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Red-naped Sapsucker
Sphyrapicus nuchalis

Woodpeckers
Woodpecker Family (Picidae)

Size: Length: 22 cm Wingspan: 36-41 cm

Description: This very common woodpecker has a distinctive red crown, throat and a matching small red patch on the nape (hence the name). The red throat patch is outlined with black and then in white. There is also a white eyebrow line running from the top of the eye to join the red nape. The breast is light, with some light banding visible. The back, wings and tail are black with some visible patches of white.

Similar Species: The yellow-bellied sapsucker is similar, but lacks the red patch on the nape. The downy woodpecker and hairy woodpecker also lack the red on the crown and throat of the red-naped sapsucker.

Range: The red-naped sapsucker is common within the Canadian and American Rockies. Its range extends north to Jasper National Park.

Habitat: They prefer deciduous and mixed wood forests, particularly with a predominance of aspen, poplar and birch.

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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