Verification of Unusual Sight Record
For Utah

Rec. # 2006-57b

Common name:

Red-breasted Sapsucker

Scientific name: Sphyrapicus ruber
Date: October 14, 2006
Time: 10:00 am
Length of time observed: 2 hours
Number: 1
Age: adult
Location: Lytle Ranch
County: Washington
Distance to bird: 20-30 feet
Optical equipment: Pentax DCF WP binoculars (8x42 & 10x42)
Weather: warm and nice with a slight breeze
Light Conditions: partly cloudy
Description:        Size of bird: about 8 inches in length
(Description:)       Basic Shape: woodpecker / sapsucker
(Description:)  Overall Pattern: See description below.
(Description:)            Bill Type: woodpecker / sapsucker
Field Marks and
Identifying Characteristics:
Black bill
White stripe on the sides of face from top of bill, underneath the eye, and continuing toward the base of the neck. This stripe was less distinct between the eye and the neck.
Black eye surrounded by black with a small black triangle in front of the eye, just above the white stripe.
The rest of the head was red except for a small grayish ear patch.
Back of the neck was black.
Overall the back of the bird and the folded wings were black.
Additionally, the back had two rows of yellowish spots down its length. The bird showed a large white patch on the right wing, however the left wing did not show this feature distinctly. Both folded wings had small white spots beginning below the large white patch and continuing to the
The tail was mainly black with white spots or bars on the inside edges.
The rump was mostly hidden, although we were able to glimpse some white as the bird shifted position.
The chin and upper breast were red as were the sides of the neck.
Below the red on the central breast was a spot of yellow.
Beneath the spot of yellow the belly and the sides of the breast were grayish with black barring and streaks of black.
The undertail was mainly white with some black barring.
(see photos)
Song or call & method of delivery: none
Behavior: Sat on trunk for 2 hours, shifting position periodically.
Spent entire time tapping, digging under bark or looking around.
Habitat:  fruit orchard
Similar species and how
were they eliminated:
Red-naped Sapsucker: has black on breast, black stripes on head, extensive white markings on back
Previous experience with
this & similar species:
Six sightings of RBSA in California and Oregon over last 10 years.
Have seen RNSA annually in Utah for twenty years, as well as numerous sightings throughout the West.
References consulted: Sibley, Nat'l Geographic, Peterson
Description from: From memory
Observer: Joel and Kathy Beyer
Observer's address: 1719 Hillcrest Ave., Salt Lake City, UT 84106
Observer's e-mail address:
Other observers who independently identified this bird: Larry Tripp
Date prepared: 2/5/2007
Additional material: Photos
Additional comments: