- ORDER: Piciformes
- FAMILY: Picidae
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
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.
- Chupasavia Pechirrojo (Spanish)
- Pic à poitrine rouge (French)
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.
- Cool Facts
- Hummingbirds often make use of sapsucker wells and may rely on them if they arrive before flowers bloom. Rufous Hummingbirds often nest near sapwells and may follow a sapsucker around during the day to feed on fresh wells.
- In areas where their ranges overlap, Red-breasted Sapsucker hybridizes frequently with the closely related Red-naped Sapsucker, producing offspring that can be difficult to distinguish from the two species.
- Until 1983, the Red-breasted Sapsucker, Red-naped Sapsucker, and Yellow-bellied Sapsucker were all considered to be the same species.
- The oldest recorded Red-breasted Sapsucker lived to be at least 5 years old.