Red-breasted Sapsucker Identification

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The Four Keys to ID

  • Size & Shape

    A medium-sized woodpecker with a long body, large, rounded head, and a chisel-like bill.

    Relative Size

    A medium-sized woodpecker. Larger than a Downy Woodpecker, smaller than a Northern Flicker.

    Relative Sizerobin sizedrobin-sized
    • Both Sexes
      • Length: 7.9-8.7 in (20-22 cm)
      • Weight: 1.9-2.2 oz (53.1-63.5 g)
      • Wingspan: 14.6-16.0 in (37-40.6 cm)

Regional Differences

The Red-breasted Sapsucker has two described subspecies, ruber and daggetti. Birds of the subspecies ruber in the northern part of the range (from southeastern Alaska to southern Oregon) have deeper and more extensive red on the head and breast. Birds of the subspecies daggetti that live in the mountains of southwest Oregon to southern California have a more prominent white malar stripe and tend to be smaller than ruber.

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