Yellow-bellied Sapsucker

The Yellow-bellied Sapsucker

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

About Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers

It is a medium-sized bird known for breeding in Canada and the north part of northeastern United States. It belongs to the woodpecker family. The Yellow-bellied Sapsucker conservation status is that the bird has disappeared from several areas in the south where it used to nest. Despite its status, it is still common and widespread in northeastern North America.

Description and Identification

A furtive woodpecker mottled with off-white and black; male has a red crown and throat; the female has only a red crown and a white throat. The forehead is colored bright red in the male, and a lighter shade of red in the female. The crown is bordered black, and is usually red, and is sometimes mixed with black in the female. There is a white stripe, starting above the eye, that extends and widens to the nape, being broken up by a thin black line on the hindneck. There is a broad black stripe going through the ear-coverts and down to the side of the neck. The mantle of this sapsucker is white, and there are irregular black bars that extend from it to the rump. The lower rump is white, and the upper tail-coverts are white with some black webbing. The wing coverts are black, and there is a white panel on the medians and central greater-wing coverts. The Yellow-bellied Sapsucker has a length of around 19 to 21 centimeters, an average weight of 50.3 grams and a wingspan that ranges from 13.4-15.8 inches. The chisel-tipped bill is relatively short and straight, with a slate to blackish color. The legs are blue-grey to green-grey in color, and the irises are a deep brown.

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker Color Pattern

The male Yellow-bellied Sapsucker has a brightly red-colored forehead while the female’s is lighter. The forehead red color can be seen on the male’s throat while the female’s is white. They both have a white stripe beginning above the eye and extending back to the nape. The male has a light yellow-white underpart while the female has a more dominant yellow. The difference between the two sexes helps people who are bird watching to tell between the two.

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker Size

It is a medium-sized bird with a mass ranging anywhere from 35-62g. It has a length of between 19-21cm and a wingspan of 34-40cm.

Yellow Bellied Sapsucker
Yellow Bellied Sapsucker

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker Behavior

Being in the woodpecker family, the Yellow-bellied Sapsucker likes to barrow shallow holes on tree barks. While birdwatching through a forest near their habitats, you may notice the shallow holes in a row. You may see them sitting still on tree trunks for long intervals while eating. Their calls are loud mewing or the shuttered pecking of wood.

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker Food

The yellow-bellied sapsucker usually forages by itself, although it sometimes joins small groups in the winter, and occasionally mixes into flocks of insectivores in the winter. Diet includes insects like ants and arthropods, tree sap, fruit, nuts and berries. It also takes bast and cambium from trees and buds of plants are eaten during spring

Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers feeds on insects and as the name suggests, it feeds on tree sap. They also eat fruits like berries. They favor ants as they commonly find them on tree trunks. Other insects on the diet are caterpillars, moths, beetles, flies, and grasshoppers.

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker Habitat

Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers are primarily a forest and woodland species. Like other sapsuckers, it tends to favor early successional and riparian habitats much of the time. On the breeding grounds, aspen, maple, and birch stands are the most frequently used habitats. It often occurs in very young forests following large-scale logging operations that remove the dense, coniferous climax forest. On migration and in winter, it is found in a broader range of vegetation types, including orchards, palm groves, scrub, and towns. They are found in Bottomland hardwoods when there is no disturbance.

In winter, you can find Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers in woodlands, aspen groves and orchards among other trees. In summer, look for them in mixed deciduous and coniferous woods.

Range and Migration

Yellow-Bellied Sapsuckers belong to the woodpecker family and are short- to long-distance migrants. These birds depart their breeding range in September and early October during winter and travel to grounds in the southern U.S, Mexico, West Indies, east of the Rocky Mountains. and Central America. They arrive back to the northern parts in May. Females tend to migrate farther south than males, with a ratio of more than three females to one male. Migration is primarily at night and often in flocks


Yellow-bellied sapsuckers nest in a large cavity excavated in a live deciduous tree, often choosing one that has rotten heartwood 6-60′ above ground. Favors trees affected by tinder fungus, which softens heartwood while leaving the outer part of the trunk firm. Males tend to arrive on breeding grounds before females. Courtship displays include pointing bill up to show off colored throat patch; ritualized tapping at the nest site. The chicks are fed by both sexes.

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker Life Cycle

Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers lay between 5-6 eggs with an incubating period of 12-13 days. Hatchlings leave the nest in 25-29 days after hatching. The Yellow-Bellied Sapsucker can live up to about 8 years.


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 Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers

The most common types of bird watching binoculars for viewing Yellow-bellied Sapsucker 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.

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker T-shirts

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

Yellow-bellied 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 an identified. You can also display the patches on our Bird Watching Academy & Camp banners.

The Yellow-bellied 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.

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker Stickers

Stickers are a great way for you to display your love for bird watching and the Yellow-bellied 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 Yellow-bellied Sapsucker

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 Yellow-bellied Sapsucker

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

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