• Skip to Content
  • Skip to Main Navigation
  • Skip to Local Navigation
  • Skip to Search
  • Skip to Sitemap
  • Skip to Footer
Help develop a Bird ID tool!

Red-naped Sapsucker

Sphyrapicus nuchalis ORDER: PICIFORMES FAMILY: PICIDAE

IUCN Conservation Status: Least Concern

The Red-naped Sapsucker is a woodpecker of the lower elevations of the Rocky Mountains. It prefers to make sap wells in willow trees, but will use a variety of tree species.

Be a Better Birder Tutorial 3
Learn About Celebrate Urban Birds!

Appearance

Woodpeckers
Woodpeckers
Typical Voice

Adult Description

  • Medium-sized woodpecker.
  • White stripe running up side.
  • Messy black and whitish barring on back.

Male Description

Throat completely red.

Female Description

Throat red, chin white. Extent of red variable, some with entire throat red.

Immature Description

Juvenile similar to adult, but head markings obscured because of paleness, with black replaced with brownish.

Range Map Help

Red-naped Sapsucker Range Map
View dynamic map of eBird sightings

Field MarksHelp

Similar Species

  • Sapsuckers are the only woodpeckers to have the vertical white stripe on the side.
  • Yellow-bellied Sapsucker very similar, but usually without red spot in white stripe across the back of the head, and back more white. Red throat of male yellow-bellied is separated from the white by a black border, but in red-naped male the black border is missing or is incomplete. Female red-naped has red throat with a broad black border, but has white chin and red on nape.
  • Red-breasted Sapsucker has extensive red across the head, but some still show striped face pattern.
  • Williamson's Sapsucker male has all black back and mostly dark head. Female and juvenile Williamson's Sapsucker more cleanly barred across entire plumage, and head pale brown.