Yellow-bellied Sapsucker

Sphyrapicus varius

Identification Tips:

Adult male:

Adult female:


Habitat: Woodlands, pine groves also orchards and other trees.

Diet: Sapsuckers drill orderly rows of small holes in trees for sap. They mostly eat plant matter and lesser amounts of insects, larvae and fruit.

Similar species: White patch on wing coverts sets sapsuckers apart from all other woodpeckers. Male Yellow-bellied Sapsukers are distinguished from male Red-naped only by the red nape spot and incomplete frame to red throat of Red-naped Sapsucker. Females are somewhat easier to distinguish, as they differ in these characters, as well as having quite different throat patterns (white in Yellow-bellied, red and white in Red-naped). It is worth noting that any sapsucker in juvenal plumage after late fall must be a Yellow-bellied. Beware of rare hybrid Yellow-bellied x Red-naped Sapsuckers, and the occasional Yellow-bellied Sapsucker which may show a red nape spot.

Image by permission of Dr. Daniel Sudia for educational purposes.

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