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Red-breasted Sapsucker

Silhouette WoodpeckersWoodpeckers
Red-breasted SapsuckerSphyrapicus ruber
  • ORDER: Piciformes
  • FAMILY: Picidae

Basic Description

The Red-breasted Sapsucker cuts a dramatic profile with its brilliant scarlet head and dapper checkerboard pattern on the back. Sapsuckers are named for their habit of drilling rows of shallow wells in shrubs and trees, and then lapping up the sap with their brush-tipped tongues. Sapsuckers are important members of their ecosystems, because many species of insects, birds, and mammals use the sapwells to supplement their own diets.

More ID Info
image of range map for Red-breasted Sapsucker
Year-roundBreedingMigrationNonbreeding
Range map provided by Birds of the World
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Find This Bird

Look for Red-breasted Sapsuckers in forests of the Sierra Nevada and the Pacific Coast, especially pine forest interspersed with deciduous trees like aspen and alder, which they use for drilling sapwells and making nest holes. To locate them, listen for their irregular, stuttering drumming or their nasal, squealing call.

Other Names

  • Chupasavia Pechirrojo (Spanish)
  • Pic à poitrine rouge (French)

Backyard Tips

Red-breasted Sapsuckers will visit a yard that contains aspen, birch or pines. Like many woodpeckers, they can sometimes be attracted to feeding stations with a suet feeder.

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