Red-Breasted Sapsucker

(Sphyrapicus ruber )

Sapsucker
Sapsucker
Sapsucker
Sapsucker
Red Breasted sapsucker
Red Breasted sapsucker
Red Breasted sapsucker
Red Breasted sapsucker
Red Breasted sapsucker
Red Breasted sapsucker
Red Breasted sapsucker
---

This flashy bird is a member of woodpecker family. You can see them in trees pecking holes in the bark or in an undulating flight on the way to or from a tree, frequently a maple tree. They love to peck holes for later sap and bug consumption. They drill evenly spaced holes which they leave open to attract bugs. Then they will come back later to feast on the bugs and sap. They also eat berries and tree tissues. Sometimes, they are attracted to sugar water and suet at feeders. Red-breasted sapsuckers live in the Cascades and to the west of the Cascades and are rare elsewhere. They like areas forested with hemlock, fir, alders, willows, and pine trees, but you may also see them in residential areas. We frequently see sapsuckers pecking on the maple tree in front of our house. They do not migrate much except birds who live in high elevations sometimes go to lower elevations in the winter, leaving when it snows or turns chilly. This 8 ½ inch bird has a distinct red-hood which goes down to the top of the chest. There is a white streak down the front side of the black wings. The front below the hood is yellowish and spotted, and its back is irregular, white stripes on a black background. The male and the female are identical in appearance, and the juvenile is dark brown, molting to adult colors in the fall. Sapsuckers don’t sing much. They make a mewing sound, squeals and irregular drumming. Sapsuckers excavate a hole in a conifer snag, aspen or other soft wood for their nest. Incubation periods are 12-13 days, and there are 3-7 eggs. The young stay in the nest about 25-29 days, and they are fed by both parents. One brood is raised per year. Note: There is a similar bird, the red-naped sapsucker which is seen east of the Cascades. They will cross breed at the crest of the Cascades.

- - Updated 10/26/2015