Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
Forest and Rangeland Birds of the United States
Natural History and Habitat Use
Red-breasted Sapsucker -- Sphyrapicus ruber
(split from Yellow-bellied Sapsucker)
RANGE: Breeds from southeastern Alaska and coastal and central interior
British Columbia south, west of the Cascades, to northwestern California, and
in the Sierra Nevada to east-central California and extreme western Nevada; locally
in the mountains of southern California and southern Nevada. Winters throughout
the breeding range (except interior British Columbia) south through most of California
(west of the deserts) to Baja California.
STATUS: Locally common.
HABITAT: Breeds in coniferous and conifer-aspen associations including
the humid coastal lowlands. Also occurs in open woodlands and parks in winter.
SPECIAL HABITAT REQUIREMENTS: Live or dead trees suitable for cavity
NEST: Apparently excavates a cavity in a variety of tree species, including
aspen, alder, cottonwood, fir, willow, and birch.
FOOD: Drills sapwells in a variety of tree species and consumes sap
and cambium. Also feeds on a variety of insects, especially ants, and some fruits.
REFERENCES: Beal 1911, Bent 1939.
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