Verification of Unusual Sight Record
For Utah

Rec. # 2017-62

Common name:

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker

Scientific name: Sphyrapicus varius
Date: 11/5/17
Time: 7:37 am
Length of time observed: 30 min
Number: 2
Age: Juvenile
Sex: N/A
Location: Lytle Ranch Preserve
County: Washington
Latilong: 37.142580, -114.022902
Elevation: 2800'
Distance to bird: 15 feet
Optical equipment: Pentax 8x43 ED binos, Canon 60D with 100-400mm IS lens
Weather: Sunny and cool
Light Conditions: Perfect
Description:        Size of bird: Medium woodpecker
(Description:)       Basic Shape: Verical woodpecker
(Description:)  Overall Pattern: Mottled black and white
(Description:)            Bill Type: Pointed chiseling
Field Marks and
Identifying Characteristics:
I saw two different juvenile sapsuckers. At this time of year, basically the only sapsuckers that will be in juvenile plumage are Yellow-bellied. In addition, these birds had white spotted crowns, broad white superciliums and extensive white barring on the back.

In addition, one of the juveniles had a duskier white moustachial stripe compared to the other bird.
(see photos)
Song or call & method of delivery: Casual sapsucker drumming.
Behavior: Hitching and working their way around various trees in the orchard of Lytle Ranch. Would fly to a new tree after a minute or so.
Habitat: Orchard- evenly spaced fruit trees.
Similar species and how
were they eliminated:
Red-naped Sapsucker is the only other species that could cause some confusion. However by November, they all should be in adult plumage. Plus Red-naped Sapsuckers have a uniform dark crown as juveniles and a thinner supercilium with less extensive white marks on the back.
Previous experience with
this & similar species:
I have seen a handful of Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers in Utah and plenty of them back east in NY.
References consulted: Sibley 2nd edition. National Geographic 7th edition.
Description from: From photo(s) taken at the time of the sighting
Observer: Kenny Frisch
Observer's address: 4609 S Wallace LN Holladay, UT
Observer's e-mail address: **
Other observers who independently identified this bird: n/a
Date prepared: 11/19/17
Additional material: Photos
Additional comments: Photos of both the individuals can be found here: