Documentation of Yellow-bellied Sapsucker

Observer Information

Reporter:  Bill Maynard  1390 Farnham Pt. # 205,   COLORADO SPRINGS, CO  80904-5215
Other Observers:  none; I don't remember but many have view this bird.

Species, Date, Time and Location Information

Species:  Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
First Date/Time:  1/3/2007
Last Date/Time: 
Duration (total time in view):  20 minutes
County:  Fremont
Specific Location:  Centenial Park
Number:  1
Age:  Unknown
Sex:  Female
Plumage:  Other/Unknown


city park with row of introduced Scotch pines. Fed on the largest pine in the row.

Description of the Bird

This was a sapsucker as identified by the combination of face, back, and undersides patterns.

The sapsucker had a bright red crown, but no red anywhere else which equals only one adult sapsucker, Yellow-bellied.

Furthermore, the bird had a white chin and throat which is only found on adult Yellow-bellied Sapsucker

The back had lots of black and white barring and a very distinctive pattern, see photo.

The nape was buffy. The bill black. From the red crown down to the back the coloration was red, then black, then white, then black on both sides of the eye, then a white band above the bill that bends down along the neck and bens onto the lower breast, then a black band below that follows the sam contour but becomes a black breast, separated from the dark bill by the white chin and throat. The upper belly had a hint of yellow and the flanks dirty gray. The tial was checkered black and white with a strongly notched tail that was used to clasp to the scotch pine tree trunk. The feet were dark with two toes facing upwards and two projecting backwards. The eye was dark and enclosed by a dark band that projected forward and backwards from the eye.
Behaviors: Mostly stationary, but probed a few times into a sap well that it appeared to be excavating. When I approached close to the bird it would freeze and move its head to its right side. When I backed off three or four feet, the bird then turned its head facing the trunk so that only the nape, back and tail were visible. It fed mostly in the shaded side of the tree.
Call: none heard
Plumage: winter adult

Similar Species Discussion

Red-naped Sapsucker is similar but it never has a white throat. The female RNSA has a white chin with red throat and the male has a red chin and throat. The one photograph shows the copletely white chin ad throat of a YBSA. RNSA usually has a red nape and this bird, the YBSA had a dirty buff nape. The amount of white on the back of a RNSA is usually much less than on a YBSA. Notice the amount of white showing on the back of this bird.

Resources Used

Big Sibley

Previous Experience

Although still a review species, YBSA is a yearly visitor to one or more locations with Scotch pine in Canon City and the city of Pueblo. The pines in Centenial Park are short enough to allow very close viewing each year. So my experience is mostly from winter birds in southern CO.



Additional Information

Time: 10:30 AM
Elevation: unknown
Other Dates: none
Nearest Town: Canon City
Independent Observers: I don't remember but many have view this bird.

Materials Available

Photographer: bill maynard

Photos |


Date Documentation Submitted

2/6/2008 2:05:00 PM
Click left or right edges of photos to move through all; click outside image to close