Verification of Unusual Sight Record
For Utah

Rec. # 2015-29

Common name:

Red-breasted Sapsucker

Scientific name: Sphyrapicus ruber
Date: 09-28-2015
Time: 12:30pm
Length of time observed: 5 minutes
Number: 1
Age: adult
Sex:  female?
Location: Salt Lake International Center
County: Salt Lake
Elevation: 4250ft
Distance to bird: 4m
Optical equipment: Nikon 10x50 Binoculars, Canon SX50 hs Digital Camera
Weather: Sunny and clear, 70F
Light Conditions: Excelent
Description:        Size of bird: medium sized woodpecker
(Description:)       Basic Shape: typical woodpecker
(Description:)  Overall Pattern: black and white body, red head and breast, yellow belly
(Description:)            Bill Type: Medium
Field Marks and
Identifying Characteristics:
First noticed a red,black and white Sapsucker fly off, one I got eyes on it I emidated thought it had more red than a typical Red-naped, and began considering hybrid Red-naped X Red-breasted or Red-breasted, we spent a few minutes trying to get as many photos as possible and getting looks at the nape, but it was very wary and uncooperative, eventually it flew off. Upon examination of the photos it became apparent this was not a hybrid. It had red extending very far down the breast, with no black border, and a very bright yellow belly. It had no black line on the nape, the entire foreheadmcrown and nape were red. It does have some white striping on the face, but that is consistent with a female S. ruber daggetti, wj=hic seem to be the best match for this bird
(see photos)
Song or call & method of delivery: none heard
Behavior: clinking to trunks of trees, very wary and spooky, usually trying to get on the other side of the trunk from us,eventually flying off
Habitat: Landscape of cultivated pines and cottonwoods with lawns near a pond. Know migrant trap on the south shore of the Great Salt Lake
Similar species and how
were they eliminated:
Red-naped Sapsucker is similar but lacks as much red on the breast and back of the head as this bird

A Hybird Red-naped X Red-breasted Sapsucker is also similar, but should show at least a black line on the nape and have a black border on the breast, with red not going down as far onto the breast as well
Previous experience with
this & similar species:
Yes, saw one in January in Rockville Utah
References consulted:  
Description from: From photo(s) taken at the time of the sighting
Observer:  Bryant Olsen
Observer's address: 688 East 700 South #105, SLC, UT 84102
Observer's e-mail address: **
Other observers who independently identified this bird: Matt Pendleton, Karen Welch, Lauri Taylor, and several others since.
Date prepared: 10-14-2015
Additional material: Photos
Additional_Comments: eBird checklist: