Verification of Unusual Sight Record
For Utah

Rec. # 2015-32

Common name:

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker

Scientific name: Sphyrapicus varius
Date: 10-20-2015
Time: 4:30pm
Length of time observed: 10 minutes
Number: 1
Age: juvenile
Sex:  ?
Location: Lytle Ranch
County: Washington
Elevation: 2,200ft
Distance to bird: 2m
Optical equipment: Nikon 10x50 Binoculars, Canon SX50 hs Digital Camera
Weather: Mostly sunny, 70F, windy
Light Conditions: good
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: typical woodpecker
Field Marks and
Identifying Characteristics:
This bird was overall very brown, with the only red restricted to the forehead. The back was heavily barred buffy brown, and head was mostly brownish with faint striping, the belly was mostly brown as well. The wings and tail were mostly black and white. Basically the ID on this bird was easy and straight forward: a sapsucker in retained juvenile plumage in late October with no red on the nape=Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
(see photos)
Song or call & method of delivery: none heard
Behavior: Feeding on sapsucker wells in trees in the orchard, very spooky bird that wouldn't let me get close, but eventual got up in the top of a tree and let me get a good look at it
Habitat: Cultivated trees along Beaver Dam wash in the Mohave Desert
Similar species and how
were they eliminated:
Juvenile Red-naped Sapsucker should be in more advanced plumage, as they molt by late September out of juvenile plumage into near adult plumage. Even hybrids as usually in more advanced plumage, and should show some red on the nape, unlike this bird
Previous experience with
this & similar species:
Yes, I saw one a few weeks before at Garr, and saw and adult here at Lytle a few years back, and last year saw a hybrid Yellow-bellied X Red-naped here at Lytle as well
References consulted: I've been seeing lots of interesting sapsuckers lately, so I'm well studied on the subject, and have been using this article as a reference:
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: Possibly the same bird seen and reported by the Sommerfields a week before?
Date prepared: 10-23-15
Additional material: Photos