Yellow-bellied Sapsucker

March 12, 2007

Sapsuckers are picaformes (woodpeckers) that drill small sap wells in trees. These wells are created in regularly spaced rows and columns on tree trunks. While sap consists of roughly 20% of their diet, they also eat insects, berries and fruits. Males and females will announce their presence by a distinctive drumming pattern. It's a staccato drum roll that is often preceded and followed by gradually slowing, clearly separated taps. Like most other woodpeckers they have zygodactyl feet (2 toes in front, and two in back) and stiff tail feathers that aid in support. The specimen that I prepared was a male. He had a red throat patch, whereas females have white in that area.


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