Sunday, September 28, 2014

Red-Naped Sapsucker

While Judy and I were hiking up to Harney Peak in South Dakota, a woodpecker landed on the side of a tree and I was able to get a few photographs. Although my identification is not without doubt, I believe it was a red-naped sapsucker. 
Red-naped sapsucker in the Black Hills, South Dakota.
The red-naped sapsucker  has a black head with a red forehead and a red spot on the nape. They are black on the back and wings with white bars and a large white wing patch. Males have a red throat patch and females have a red and white throat (lower red, upper white). This bird seems not to have as darkly a delineated black eye stripe and some of the spots on the back appear to be more olive-green than white and part of the red appears to be more orange. They do hybridize with the red-breasted and yellow-breasted sapsucker, and so this bird may possibly be a juvenile or a hybrid. 
As the name suggests, when drilling  holes with their bill, they eat not only insects but suck out and eat sap. 

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