Verification of Unusual Sight Record
For Utah

Rec. # 2015-02

Common name:

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker

Scientific name: Sphyrapicus various
Date: 19 DEC 2014
Time: 07:45
Length of time observed: 30 minutes
Number: 1
Age: imm.
Sex: unknown
Location: Castle Creek Lane @ Annie and Ed's
County: Grand
Latilong: 36.6560 109.4256198
Elevation:  ><4,200
Distance to bird: <30'
Optical equipment: 8x42 bins, 20-60x scope
Weather: Balmy, 40's mostly clear sky
Light Conditions: Pre-sun up, sun up - excellant light.
Description:        Size of bird: Medium
(Description:)       Basic Shape: Woodpecker shape
(Description:)  Overall Pattern: Head, shoulders, back, brownish. Wings black w/white bar. Underside light.
(Description:)            Bill Type: Straight chisel.
Field Marks and
Identifying Characteristics:
Head brownish with light, not white, streak behind eye, and below eye to base/top of bill. Nape and back has messy, brownish markings.Wings dark, blackish, with large white wingbar. Tail dark. Throat and belly light, creamy/yellowish with dark streaking on sides and flanks.
(see photos)
Song or call & method of delivery: Mewing, mewling calls.
Querulous scolding cries.
Behavior: Hitches up and around tree trunk and branches will clinging with feet and bracing/propping with tail feathers.
Discreet tapping to dislodge bark and drill shallow wells. Hummingbird-like tongue employed to lick up sap.
Arcing flight of flapping and gliding.
Habitat: Small stand of pines, very heavily marked with sapsucker pattern of holes- parallel lines.Large cottonwood trees and Russian Olive Trees. 100 yards away is the thick riparian corridor of Castle Creek.
Similar species and how
were they eliminated:
1st year Red-naped Sapsucker would resemble adult - black, white and red plumage, only lacking black bib.
Female Williamson's Sapsucker head is browner without light streaks over and under eyes. More black on chest, and dark barring on sides tapering to flanks. No big wingbar.
Downy and Hairy woodpeckers distinctly black and white. Both have obvious white backs. Red on males limited to hindcrown.
Previous experience with
this & similar species:
Familiar with Red-naped Sapsucker - I have observed them Spring thru Fall the last couple years where I'm working.
I've enjoyed Downy and Hairy Woodpeckers for the last 40 years in a variety of places.
References consulted: National Geographic Field Guide to the Birds of North America,
Cornell's All About Birds website.
Description from: From photo(s) taken at the time of the sighting
Observer: Stephen Heinrich
Observer's address: 177 Shafer Lane, HC 64 Box 2913 Castle Valley Utah 84532-9613
Observer's e-mail address: **
Other observers who independently identified this bird: none
Date prepared: 15 JAN2014
Additional material: Photos   <skipchris at> These people have good photos.
Additional_Comments: The bird is still in the same location. I heard and saw it this morning.