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Male Yellow-bellied Sapsucker (Sphyrapicus varius)... | by pieceoflace photography
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Male Yellow-bellied Sapsucker (Sphyrapicus varius)...

The Yellow-bellied Sapsucker is a small - medium sized woodpecker, measuring 7.1 - 8.7 inches (18 - 22 cm) in length with a wing span of 13 - 16 inches (34 - 40 cm). They are mostly black and white with boldly patterned faces. Both sexes have red foreheads, and males also have red throats as seen above. Look for a long white stripe along the folded wing. Bold black-and-white stripes curve from the face toward a black chest shield and white or yellowish underparts.


The Yellow-bellied Sapsucker ranges in North America, including most of Canada in summer, the eastern half of the United States, Central America and the Caribbean. One of the most migratory of woodpeckers they are short to long distance migrants that essentially have no overlap between summer and winter ranges. They normally depart their breeding range in September and early October for wintering grounds in the southern U.S., Mexico, West Indies, and Central America. They typically arrive back north in May.


Habitat consists of both hardwood and conifer forests up to about 6,500 feet elevation. They often nest in groves of small trees such as aspens, and spend winters in open woodlands. Nest site is cavities in trees, usually deciduous trees such as aspen, poplar, birch, 6 - 60 feet above ground. Often uses same tree in consecutive years, but rarely same nest hole.


Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers perch upright on trees, leaning on their tails like other woodpeckers. They feed at sapwells...neat rows of shallow holes they drill in tree bark, of which they have a strong preference for birches and maples. They lap up the sugary sap along with any insects that may get caught there. They also eat fruit and berries. And although they aren’t regular bird feeder visitors, they may visit suet feeders.


ISO1600, aperture f/5.6, exposure .001 seconds (1/800) focal length 450mm

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Taken on April 3, 2017