Sphyrapicus nuchalis
(Red-naped Sapsucker)

Order: Piciformes
Order Description: Woodpeckers
Family: Picidae
Family Description: Woodpeckers

Physical Description:
8-9" (20-23 cm). Medium-sized woodpecker; smaller than a flicker. Characterized by black-and-white stripes on face, a long white wing patch, barred back, and white rump. Have red napeClick word for definition, forehead, and throat (female's throat is only partly red). Have black chest crescent separating throat from pale yellow belly. Immatures dusky brown with light spots on back, lighter belly and breast, with black-and-white checkered wings and tail.

Similar Species- Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, female Williamson's Sapsucker resembles immature Red-naped

A soft, slurred, nasal whee-ur or mew. Also drums: several rapid thumps followed by several slow, rhythmic thumps. The display communication of the spring pair is not a drum but a broken series tap: prrrrrrrp, prrp, prp, prp.

Breeds in Rocky Mountain region from south-central British Columbia, southwestern Alberta, and western Montana, south (east of Cascades) to east- central California, southern Nevada, central Arizona, southern New Mexico, and extreme western Texas. Winters in southern California, Oregon (casually), southern Nevada, central Arizona, and central New Mexico, and south to northern Mexico.

Found primarily in coniferousClick word for definition/deciduousClick word for definition forests that include aspen and cottonwood. During migrationClick word for definition and in winter, found in various forest and open woodland habitats, and in parks, orchards, and gardens. A study in north-central Idaho found no differences in numbers among clearcut, fragmented, and contiguous stands of coniferous forest.

Drinks sap and eats cambiumClick word for definition, fruits, and berries. Also eats insects in wood.

Nests in cavity in live tree, frequently near water. Often returns to nest in same tree, but not same cavity, year after year. Drills holes in trees to obtain food.

Both sexes incubateClick word for definition 4- 5 eggs for 12-13 days. Nestlings fledgeClick word for definition at 25-29 days. In Montana and Wyoming, nestlings have been noted in late June to mid-July.

Element Code: ABNYF05040
Status: Protected nongame species
Global Rank: G5
State Rank: S5
National Rank: N5B,N?N

Important State References:
Hutto, R.L. 1993. Effects of clearcutting and fragmentation on the birds of a western coniferous forest. Final report to Clearwater National Forest, Univ. Montana, Missoula. 13pp.

Original images provided by Jason Karl,© 1999
Design by Ean Harker©1999, 2000.
Written by Jason Karl, 2000.