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Yellow-bellied Sapsucker (Male)

Sphyrapicus varius


I could hear this bird tapping on trees long before I could see it! Yellow-bellied sapsuckers are medium-sized woodpeckers with black wings, white barring, and a cream-colored underside with streaked markings. Both sexes have a black bib. Males have a red forehead and crown, as well as a red throat.


This bird was flying from tree to tree, tapping holes and inspecting sap wells in a mixed forest.


Most of their foraging time is spent creating, maintaining, and feeding from sap wells. Sap itself makes up only about 20% of their overall diet, though at certain times, the figure can be nearly 100%. During early spring, the xylem tissues have high sugar content (to fuel leaf growth), and so sapsuckers drill through the phloem to make xylem wells, which are round holes. The remainder of their diet consists of insects, fruit, and seeds.

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Christine Y.
Christine Y. 2 years ago

Thanks Zlatan!

Zlatan Celebic
Zlatan Celebic 2 years ago

Wow. a great one!

Christine Y.
Christine Y. 2 years ago

Thanks Danièle! Although loud, they are elusive!

DanielePralong 2 years ago

Great shots Christine! I too always hear woodpeckers before I see them. Well often I don't even manage to see them :-)

Christine Y.
Christine Y. 2 years ago

Thanks Bernadette and Rob! They are not that common where I live, and this was my first time seeing one. I watched it make the hole in the first shot, and was amazed by how easily and quickly it was done!

triggsturner 2 years ago

Nice one Christine. I love these guys!

Bernadette S
Bernadette S 2 years ago

Great spotting!

Christine Y.
Spotted by
Christine Y.

Connecticut, USA

Spotted on Apr 22, 2018
Submitted on Apr 23, 2018

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