Not a Warner Brothers
cartoon character, but an actual bird. The closely related Red-naped
Sapsucker is very similar, but ranges are distinctly different. As the
name implies, Sapsuckers drill a series of wells in trees and drink the sap that
oozes forth. They are often quite important ecologically for a given
habitat, as several other animal species use sapsucker wells for feeding.
Male Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers are quite territorial, and can often be heard
banging out their territorial drumming. They've come to learn that metal
signs and other metal objects can amplify the drumming sound, and thus
individual birds may return to a given sign time and time again in order to
reinforce their control over a territory. The photo to the right shows a
male at a nest hole. Females are similar in plumage but lack the red on the
Habitat: Can be found in nearly any kind
of forest during migration. Generally in deciduous to mixed forest in the
Diet: Other than sap, eats insects attracted by their sap
wells. Also eats fruits and berries.
Behavior: While much of the diet may be tree sap, they also often
glean insects from branches as do other woodpeckers. They also may catch
insects in mid-air.
Nesting: June and July
Migration: While most woodpeckers in the United States are not
know for long migration, the Yellow-bellied Sapsucker is strongly migratory, wintering in the southeastern U.S.
down through Central America, and summering in the northern U.S. and Canada.
Feeders: Fruit, will use
hummingbird feeders for nectar, occasionally suet.
Conservation Status: Populations are generally stable and may be on the increase.
Cornell Lab of Ornithology - Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
Photo Information: May 21st, 2010 - Near Brandon,
South Dakota -- Terry L. Sohl
Additional Photos: Click on the image chips or
text links below for additional, higher-resolution Yellow-bellied Sapsucker photos.