Yellow-bellied Sapsucker

    Related Articles


    A furtive woodpecker mottled with off-white and black; male has a red crown and throat; the female has only a red crown. Both sexes are dull yellowish below. Immature birds are sooty brown. In all plumages, the distinctive mark is a conspicuous white wing stripe, visible both at rest and in flight.


    The Yellow-bellied Sapsucker (Sphyrapicus varius), at least on migration, is the quietest of the woodpeckers; aside from a few squeaks and whines, it is mainly silent. It is also the least conspicuous, hitching around to the opposite side of the tree trunk when approached.

    Sapsuckers get their name from the habit of boring holes into the cambium layer or inner bark, letting the sap exude and run down the trunk. The birds wipe up or suck the oozing sap with their brushlike tongues. They return again and again to the same tree and also consume the insects attracted to it.

    Length: 8.5 inches

    Habitat: Young, open deciduous or mixed forest with clearings; in migration, in parks, yards, gardens.

    Range: Alaska and Canada to the mountains of Virginia and California. Winters south to Panama and the West Indies.

    Video Credits: Wild Bird and Nature Videos by McElroy Productions
    Image Credits:  Jessica Bolser/USFWS


    Other Topics

    Lady’s Mantle

    Overview Clump-forming perennials with soft, hairy foliage and mounded clusters of ¼ inch green or chartreuse flowers.

    Bush monkey-flower

    The bush monkey-flower (Mimulus aurantiacus), also known as the Sticky monkey-flower, has pale orange flowers and a sprawling habit. Grow it in...

    Flea Control

    Are Fleas Dangerous? Fleas are serious business. If your ferret gets them and you do not treat the...


    Overview The Serengeti is a relatively new breed of domestic cat bred to mimic the African Serval. In...

    Barred Owl (Strix varia)

    In the daytime, an owl sitting inconspicuously in a tree is frequently mobbed by a noisy flock of scolding small birds, a...