Sphyrapicus thyroideus
(Williamson's Sapsucker)


Order: Piciformes
Order Description: Woodpeckers
Family: Picidae
Family Description: Woodpeckers

Physical Description:
9-9 1/2" (24 cm). A medium-sized woodpecker unlike any other in the United States. Male has black head, breast band, and back, white facial stripes, bright red throat, and large white shoulder and rump patches. Lemon yellow belly is bordered with black-and-white-barred flanksClick word for definition. In flight, black with white rump and shoulder patches. Sexes very dissimilar: female has brown head, dark brown and white "zebra" stripes on back, sides, and wings; large dark bib, white rump, and smaller, less brilliant yellow area on belly.

Similar Species- female resembles a small flicker

Song:
A soft, nasal churrr, descending in pitch. Drums a distinctive, patterned, rapid series of taps, followed by three or four taps given slowly.

Distribution:
Breeds from southern interior British Columbia, Idaho, and western Montana, south in mountains to northern and east-central California, and locally in southern California, central Arizona, southern New Mexico, and northern Baja California. Winters mainly from breeding range, south to northern Baja California, northwestern Mexico, and western Texas.

Habitat:
Found in montane coniferousClick word for definition forests, especially fir and lodgepole pine. During migration and in winter, also found in lowland forests.

Diet:
Consumes sap, cambiumClick word for definition, and insects. Ants may comprise 86% of animal food. Also eats white wood- boring larvae and moths of spruce budworms.

Ecology:
Nests in cavity in standing snag/hollow tree; sometimes returns to same tree, but not same cavity, year after year. Drills holes in trees, or forages on ground.

Reproduction:
Both sexes incubateClick word for definition 3- 7 eggs (usually 5-6), for 12-14 days. Nestlings are altricialClick word for definition. Young are tended by both adults, and leave nest cavity about 28-35 days after hatching.

Conservation:
Element Code: ABNYF05030
Status: Protected nongame species
Global Rank: G5
State Rank: S4,NTMB
National Rank: N5B,N5N

Important State References:
No references are available at this time.


Original images provided by C. Trost,© 2000.
Design by Ean Harker©1999, 2000.
Written by Jason Karl, 2000.