Juvenile © Jody Wells
Adult © Peter Hawrylyshyn
Adult © Greg Gillson
Adult © Esme Rosen
+ 2
Adult © Paul Fenwick

Red-breasted Sapsucker Sphyrapicus ruber

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Striking medium-sized woodpecker of far western North America. Beautiful plumage with mostly red head and breast and bold white slash on the shoulder. Some show vague pattern of black-and-white on the head, but always more extensive red than Red-naped Sapsucker. Also note limited white mottling on back, and no black on the breast. Juveniles are dark brown on the head and breast. Beware that some hybrids with Red-naped occur, and might be best left unidentified. Breeds in coniferous and mixed forests, descending to lower elevations in winter, as far south as northern Baja. Like other sapsuckers, drills rows of sap wells into tree bark. Listen for irregular drumming (like morse code) and various nasal calls.