Verification of Unusual Sight Record
For Utah

Rec. # 2015-30

Common name:

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker

Scientific name: Sphyrapicus varius
Date: 10-06-2015
Time: 11:00am
Length of time observed: 5 minutes
Number: 1
Age: juvenile
Sex: male
Location: Garr Ranch,Antelope Island
County: Davis
Elevation: 4250ft
Distance to bird: 5m
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: brownish with some black and white barring
(Description:)            Bill Type: Medium
Field Marks and
Identifying Characteristics:
What caught my eye in the field was a very pale sapsucker in juvenile plumage, so I took many photos and compared them to online articles. I had direct comparisons of this bird with several Red-naped Sapsuckers nearby, most also juveniles. This bird was in nearly fully retained juvenile plumage, with only a tiny amount or red on the throat and in the forehead. It also had a very barred buffy back, and no red on the nape.
(see photos)
Song or call & method of delivery: none heard
Behavior: clinging to tree trunks, feeding in sapsucker wells. Very tame and cooperative, but being harassed by other sapsuckers
Habitat: Cultivated trees in a picnic area at Garr Ranch, a known migrant trap
Similar species and how
were they eliminated:
Red-naped Sapsucker: All the other immature Red-naped present had moulted into near adult plumage, and had red on the forehead and crown as well as the nape, and much more on the throat as well

Red-naped X Yellow-bellied Sapscuker hybrids should have at least some red on the nape, and also should be in more advanced plumage.

Previous experience with
this & similar species:
Yes, I've seen an adult male at Lytle ranch a few years ago, and last year at Lytle I saw a hybrid Yellow-bellied X Red-naped Sapsucker
References consulted:  [internet PDF file]
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 saw the same bird 2 day later in the same spot. His photos are included.
Date prepared: 10-14-2015
Additional material: Photos
Additional_Comments: eBird chcecklst: