Red-breasted Sapsucker

Red-breasted Sapsucker Picture

Red-breasted Sapsucker

A Red-breasted Sapsucker is a fun bird to see while bird watching. Below are some tips to help you identify Red-breasted Sapsuckers. We have also put together a list of fun Red-breasted Sapsucker t-shirts, Red-breasted Sapsucker bird patches, birdhouses, bird feeders, binoculars, stickers, and other fun bird watching items.

About Red-breasted Sapsuckers

The Red-breasted Sapsuckers live in the mixed forests on the Pacific coast of North America. These birds migrate south for the winter. Those that make habitats on the coast are often non-migratory even through winter.

Description and Migration

Red-breasted sapsuckers are 7.9- 8.7 inches long and they weigh between 1.4-2.4 oz. Both sexes
of these birds are similar in appearance. Red-breasted sapsuckers have bright redheads with a
distinct black spot in front of their eyes. The bright red of their heads fades as it extends towards
the breasts of these birds. A physical feature that makes these birds particularly easy to spot is
their pale-yellow belly. Red-breasted sapsuckers have black backs with various yellow and off-
white spots. Young red-breasted sapsuckers are brown in color.

Red-breasted Sapsucker Size

  • Length: these birds have an average length of 7 to 9 inches.
  • Weight: a fully matured Red-breasted Sapsucker weighs an average of 59 to 65 grams
  • Wingspan: the Red-breasted Sapsuckers have an average wingspan of 14 to 16 inches

Red-breasted Sapsucker Appearance

These Red-breasted Sapsuckers have a redhead and upper chest. The belly and rump have a white color. The plumage on the back is black in color and has a distinctive wing bar that has a large white wing patch

Red-breasted Sapsucker Feeding

Red-breasted Sapsuckers have earned their name due to their common method of feeding. These
birds possess stiff hairs on their tongues that are especially useful in collecting sap from trees.
Red-breasted Sapsuckers often drill many holes in the same trees and wait till the holes begin
dripping with sap. As these birds regularly visit the same tree several times, they often also lead to
the death of trees. Other common prey for these birds is the insects that gather around the trees
due to the dripping sap. Animals such as caterpillars and spiders are also consumed by these
birds. Adding to all these foods, Red-breasted Sapsuckers also eat fruits and berries.

These sapsuckers drill holes in trees and eat the sap, as well as insects attracted to it. They may catch insects in flight. They also complement their diets with seeds and berries. These birds are not afraid of human interaction and visit birdfeeders for breadcrumbs.

Red-breasted Sapsucker Habitat

Red-breasted Sapsuckers are commonly spotted in forests along the coast that have a number of
dead trees or large snags. They choose to inhabit these regions because these trees are
suitable nesting sites. As these birds have also been found nesting in utility poles, it’s indicated that
Red-breasted Sapsuckers might be able to adapt to regions outside of their common habitats.

The Red-breasted Sapsuckers live in the mixed forests found on the Pacific coast. It is not uncommon to find this bird species in parts of North America. They nest in a large cavity excavated in a deciduous tree, often choosing one weakened by disease. They may use the same area for several years if their living conditions are favorable.

Range and Migration

Red-breasted sapsuckers are medium-sized woodpeckers that are native to the Nearctic region.
Their range covers most of the western Pacific Coast. Red-breasted Sapsuckers are very
commonly found in their range which extends from the northern-most regions of British Columbia
to the northern tip of Baja California. The breeding grounds of these birds are located in regions in
Oregon, Washington, Western British Columbia, and northeastern California. In the winter season, red-
breasted sapsuckers migrate southwards toward warmer regions.

Red-breasted Sapsucker Life and Behavior

During nesting season, the Red-breasted Sapsuckers nest in tree cavities and interbreed with the closely related Red-naped Sapsucker or Yellow-bellied Sapsucker. It is not uncommon for pairs of this species to remain together for more than one nesting season. The nest is built by both sexes, 6 meters from the ground in a standing dead tree. Their defense mechanism is usually to ignore any intrusion into their nest. The female lays an average of 4 to 6 white eggs each season. Both the male and female incubate the eggs for about two weeks. The young ones are looked after by both parents and leave the nest a month after hatching.

Red-brested Sapsucker Nesting

Red-breasted Sapsuckers are birds that are seasonally monogamous. These birds build their nests
by making holes in dead deciduous trees. The breeding season for Red-breasted Sapsuckers
generally begins in April or May. These birds only attempt to produce one brood annually, but they
might produce another brood if the first one fails. Both males and females contribute to the
excavation of the nest cavities. The nesting cavities are lined with wood chips by the females.
Females usually lay about 4-7 eggs which need to be incubated for an average of 14 days. The
nestlings of these birds are nourished with fruits and sap by their parents for another 14 days,
following which they become capable of flying. As Red-breasted Sapsuckers are extremely
vulnerable to predation, the eggs and nestlings of these birds are provided with a lot of parental
care. Red-breasted Sapsuckers generally stay close to their nests to protect them.


Bird Watching Academy & Camp Subscription Boxes

At Bird Watching Academy & Camp we help kids, youth, and adults get excited and involved in bird watching. We have several monthly subscription boxes that you can subscribe to. Our monthly subscription boxes help kids, youth, and adults learn about birds, bird watching, and bird conservation.

Bird Watching Binoculars for Identifying Red-breasted Sapsuckers

The most common types of bird-watching binoculars for viewing Red-breasted Sapsuckers are 8×21 binoculars and 10×42 binoculars. Bird Watching Academy & Camp sells really nice 8×21 binoculars and 10×42 binoculars. You can view and purchase them here.

Red-breasted Sapsucker T-shirts

If you love the Red-breasted Sapsucker you should purchase a Bird Watching Academy & Camp T-shirt. To help support bird conservation we donate 10 percent to bird conservation activities.

Red-breasted Sapsucker Iron On Patches

Kids, Youth, and Adults love to collect our Bird Watching Academy & Camp iron-on patches. Our bird-watching patches help you keep track of the birds you have seen and identified. You can also display the patches on our Bird Watching Academy & Camp banners.

The Red-breasted Sapsucker is a great iron-on patch to start your collection with. The patches are durable and can be sewn on or ironed on to just about anything.

Red-breasted Sapsucker Stickers

Stickers are a great way for you to display your love for bird watching and the Red-breasted Sapsucker. We sell a monthly subscription sticker pack. The sticker packs have 12 bird stickers. These sticker packs will help your kids learn new birds every month.

Bird Feeders for Red-breasted Sapsuckers

There are many types of bird feeders. Here are our favorite bird feeders for your backyard. We use all of these bird feeders currently. Kids will have a great time watching birds eat at these bird feeders. Using this collection of bird feeders will provide a wide variety and many types of birds.

Best Bird Houses for Red-breasted Sapsuckers

There are many types of birdhouses. Building a birdhouse is always fun but can be frustrating. These 4 birdhouses have become our favorites. Getting a birdhouse for kids to watch birds grow is always fun. We spent a little extra money on these birdhouses but they have been worth the higher price and look great.

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