The Sapsuckers form the genus Sphyrapicus within the woodpecker family Picidae.

Member of the Picidae Family: Woodpeckers … Flickers


All are found in North America.


As their name implies, sapsuckers feed primarily on the sap of trees, moving among different tree and shrub species on a seasonal basis. Insects, especially those attracted to the sweet sap exuding from sap holes, are often captured and fed to the young during the breeding season.

The most easily recognised sap holes are found in birch trees during the breeding season. The members of this genus are slender birds with stiff tails and relatively long wings.

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker

Their typical pattern in flight is undulating, alternating between quick bursts of wing beats and short dips with wings tucked against the body. Because sapsuckers attack living trees, they are often considered a pest species. See: TATE, J. 1973. Methods and annual sequence of foraging by the sapsucker.

red-naped sapsucker

Williamson's Sapsucker


Red-breasted Sapsucker (Sphyrapicus ruber)

Red-naped Sapsuckers (Sphyrapicus nuchalis)

Williamson’s Sapsucker (Sphyrapicus thyroideusis)

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker (Sphyrapicus varius)

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Gordon Ramel

Gordon is an ecologist with two degrees from Exeter University. He's also a teacher, a poet and the owner of 1,152 books. Oh - and he wrote this website.

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