Sapsucker, a woodpecker that drinks the sap of trees. Sapsuckers also eat insects that come to feed on the sap.
The yellow-bellied, or common, sapsucker, which is found throughout most of North America, is blackish above and yellowish below. The forehead is crimson in both sexes and the throat of the male is also crimson. Both sexes have long white wing markings. The yellow-bellied sapsucker is from eight to nine inches (20 to 23 cm) long. It nests in holes in trees.
The red-naped sapsucker and the red-breasted sapsucker are subspecies of the yellow-bellied sapsucker. The red-naped sap-sucker has patches of red on the nape, forehead, and throat. It is found from western Canada to western Mexico. The red-breasted sapsucker is solid red from the head to the breast. It is found from southeastern Alaska to western Oregon. Both subspecies have a black chest band.
Williamson's sapsucker, which is found primarily west of the Rocky Mountains, grows to about nine inches (23 cm) long. The male resembles the common sapsucker but does not have the crimson patch on the forehead. The female, which is brownish with white stripes on the sides, nests in a hole in a stump or tree.
The yellow-bellied sapsucker is Sphyrapicus varius; red-naped, S. v. nuchalis; red-breasted, S. v. ruber; Williamson's, S. thyroideus. Sapsuckers belong to the family Picidae.