Order: Piciformes

Family: Picidae

Genus: Sphyrapicus

Species: Sphyrapicus ruber


The Red-breasted sapsucker is a robin-sized woodpecker that feeds on sap from trees. It is about 20-22 cm in length and 69-48 g in mass (Walters, Miller, & Lowther, 2014).The Red-Breasted Sapsucker can only be found in western north america. This sapsucker shares the common woodpecker trait of nesting in cavities, and prefers to make its nest in snags (Tomasevic, & Marzluff, 2017). The red-breasted sapsucker is closely related to two other distinct species, the Red-naped Sapsucker (S. nuchalis) and the Yellow-bellied Sapsucker (S. varius) with which it forms a superspecies (Walters et al, 2014). These three sapsuckers come into contact and form hybrid zones occasionally hybridizing (Seneviratne, Davidson, Martin, & Irwin, 2016).

Its plumage is dynamic with a red head that drapes down to its nape, and on the front falls to midway down the breast. The lower half of its belly is pale yellow. It has black and white lores contrasting its red head. Its wings are mostly black with a bold white strip following the outer contour of the wing, as well as some horizontal dashes of white down the lower half of the primaries and secondaries. Its back is black with two vertical rows of pale yellow dashes. Its bill is short for a woodpecker, straight, and chisel-tipped.

Food Habits
Personal Observations
Literature Cited
Population Trends and Conservation Issues
About the Author