Verification of Unusual
Rec. # 2018-62
|Scientific name:||Sphyrapicus ruber|
|Length of time observed:||10 minutes|
|Location:||Short Creek (northeast of Hildale, UT)|
|Distance to bird:||Varied (as close at 15 feet)|
|Optical equipment:||Nikon 200-500mm lens, Leupold 10X50 binoculars|
|Light Conditions:||Mostly shade|
|Description: Size of bird:||About 8 inches|
|(Description:) Basic Shape:||Woodpecker-shape (see photos)|
|(Description:) Overall Pattern:||Black, gray, red, white|
|(Description:) Bill Type:||Straight, woodpecker-like|
Field Marks and
Sapsucker with extensively red crown, forehead, and throat. Red also extends
onto nape and breast, with some red feathers connecting the red crown to the red
throat behind the eye. A black stripe starts in front of the eye and extends to
nape. A small black patch also appears on the back of the bird's head. Small
white patch above the eye, white malar stripe.
Mostly dark back, with pale splotches that extend upwards to nape. Dark wingtips with small white bands. Inner part of upper-tail appeared banded black and white. Outer tail appeared entirely black.
Underside not seen well. What was visible on the underside was pale gray with the exception of red on the breast.
|Song or call & method of delivery:||Silent|
|Behavior:||Drumming on Russian olive trunk|
|Habitat:||Mixed woodlands near a riparian zone. Varied vegetation, which included oak, Russian olive, pinyon/juniper, cottonwoods, and box elder.|
were they eliminated:
Red-naped sapsucker X red-breasted sapsucker
hybrid: I strongly considered this possibility. After reading some articles on
hybrid sapsuckers, many referenced the black breast shield as a red-naped
feature that often shows up (at least partially) when these two species
hyrbridize. I see no hint of this feature in the bird I observed. I am slightly
more concerned about the black in the back of the head of this individual.
However, I checked photos of the red-breasted sapsucker I observed in Utah
previously (UBRC 2015-01) and some black was present in this same area (to a
lesser extent). I think that this could be a normal feature that presents itself
in daggetti ssp. Besides that feature, I think my bird looks very similar to the
"Adult Female Southern" red-breasted sapsucker illustration in Sibley's Western
Red-naped sapsucker and yellow-bellied sapsucker: The bird I observed had extensive red on its head which extended onto the nape and breast. This extent of red would not be present on either of these species. The individual observed also lacked black in the breast, which would be present on red-naped and yellow-bellied sapsuckers.
this & similar species:
I have observed 3 or 4 previous red-breasted sapsuckers, including one
previously in Utah (see UBRC 2015-01).
Most recently I observed 2 or 3 red-breasted sapsuckers on a recent trip to Northern California and Southern Oregon.
Red-naped sapsucker: many previous observations.
Yellow-bellied sapsucker: very limited experience.
Red-naped X red-breasted hybrid: I have observed some individuals that I suspected hybridization, but these showed predominant features of a red-naped.
Sibley Western Field Guide
Online sapsucker hybrid write-ups:
From photo(s) taken at the time of the sighting
|Observer's address:||354 Vermillion Ave|
|Observer's e-mail address:||**|
|Other observers who independently identified this bird:||My girlfriend may have briefly observed the bird but she is not a birder.|
|Additional comments:||There was a red-naped sapsucker in the exact same spot where this bird was observed (same Russian olive, same trunk) several hours later in the day.|