Verification of Unusual Sight Record
For Utah

Rec. # 2017-56

Common name:

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker

Scientific name: Sphyrapicus nuchalis
Date: Sep 25th,2017
Time: 10:15 a.m.
Length of time observed: 10 min.
Number: 1
Age: immature
Sex: male
Location: Salt Lake International center 40.772685, -112.012224
County: Salt Lake County
Latilong: 6
Elevation: approx. 4400'
Distance to bird: 15'
Optical equipment: binoculars and 500mm lens
Weather: clear and calm
Light Conditions: good morning light
Description:        Size of bird: typical sapsucker size
(Description:)       Basic Shape: woodpecker
(Description:)  Overall Pattern:  black white and red
(Description:)            Bill Type: long
Field Marks and
Identifying Characteristics:
Impression and ID in the field was Yellow-bellied but given the difficult ID and similar variations with the more common Red-naped, caution, time, and research were given before committing to the ID. The complete red throat (no white) and no trace of any red on the nape, also the perfect prototypical black border on the limited red throat fit Yellow-bellied perfectly. I never had a photo showing the back cleanly but from what I can partially tell the white on the back was more barred and leaned away from what one would expect from a Red-naped. The aspect of this bird that gave me trepidation was the timing and molt. Studying the literature on this subject and the many images available on the Macaulay Library reveal that this bird fits and is well within what one would look for in a first year male for the date. So given there is no hint of hybrid in this bird and all the ID points fit clearly I feel good about this identification.
Song or call & method of delivery: none heard
Behavior: Searching trunks for sap holes.
Habitat: Cottonwoods and Russian Olives.
Similar species and how
were they eliminated:
Red-naped Sapsucker eliminated due to no red in the nape. No white in the throat, and a clean black border to the red throat.
Previous experience with
this & similar species:
I have seen this species in other state and one other in Utah.
References consulted: Internet, Macuaulay library, and Sibley's second edition.
Description from: From photo(s) taken at the time of the sighting
Observer: Matthew Pendleton
Observer's address: 12043 Bluff View Dr. Sandy Ut. 84092
Observer's e-mail address: **
Other observers who independently identified this bird: Bryant Olsen
Date prepared: 10/20/2017
Additional material: Photos
Additional comments:  My ebird record of this bird-

Bryant's ebird record including notes and additional photos-