| Species: Red-breasted
Sapsuckers drill evenly spaced rows of holes, or “wells”, in trees
for the sap and the insects they attract. The Red-breasted
Sapsucker is common along coastal ranges of the west coast of North
America. During the winter most move south or to lower
elevations along the coast.
Small-medium woodpecker. Length: 20-22 cm. Weight: 39-68
The entire head is red except for a black spot in front of the eyes
and a white line from the lores to nostrils. The red on the
head extends to the nape and over the breast. There is a large
white wing-patch. The back is black with variable amounts of
white or yellow spots. The belly is yellow and the rump white.
The sexes are alike.
Plumage is brownish, showing little or no red.
There is usually no confusion with other sapsuckers except in areas
of overlap, where hybrids can occur.
Sapsuckers create sap wells, or shallow holes, in the bark of woody
plants and trees and feed on sap that appears there. They
create elaborate systems of sap wells and maintain this resource
throughout the day to ensure sap production. This large
investment in maintenance causes sapsuckers to defend the wells from
other sapsuckers and species. When feeding young, insects are
dipped in sap wells perhaps for added nutrition.
Common in coniferous or mixed forests along the coastal ranges,
usually at lower elevation and in moist forests.
The Red-breasted and Red-naped sapsuckers, together with the
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker form a superspecies. These 3 species
have, for the most part, separate distributions but were long
treated as forms of a single species- the “Yellow-bellied
Sapsucker”- until 1983 when systematic studies warranted taxonomic
treatment as separate species.
IUCN Conservation Status listed as Least Concern.
A year round resident, the Red-breasted Sapsucker's
preferred habitat is coniferous forest which occurs within
Colony Farm but outside of the banding area. Capture rates
(2010-2012; standardized as birds captured per 100 net
hours) occur in June and September as a result of few
individuals moving within the park.