Williamsons Sapsucker (Sphyrapicus thyroideus)

Williamsons Sapsucker

[order] PICIFORMES | [family] Picidae | [latin] Sphyrapicus thyroideus | [UK] Williamsons Sapsucker | [FR] Pic de l’Ouest | [DE] Kiefern-Saftlecker | [ES] Chupasavia Oscura (Mex) | [NL] Bergsapspecht


Genus Species subspecies Breeding Range Breeding Range 2 Non Breeding Range
Sphyrapicus thyroideus NA w Mexico
Sphyrapicus thyroideus nataliae se British Columbia (Canada) through wc USA to sc Mexico
Sphyrapicus thyroideus thyroideus s British Columbia (Canada) to n Baja California (Mexico) to n Mexico

Physical charateristics

Male: Black crown, black back, long white shoulder patch. Note white facial stripes, red throat, yellow belly. In flight, black with white rump and shoulder patches. b Female: A brownish,i
“zebra-backed” woodpecker with a white rump, i barred sides, brown head, yellow belly. This coloration and its evergreen habitat separate it from other zebra-backed woodpeckers.

Listen to the sound of Williamsons Sapsucker

[audio:http://www.aviflevoland.nl/sounddb/W/Williamsons Sapsucker.mp3]

Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto

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North America : West


Higher conifer forests, burn
In summer, found in mountains in conifer forests including spruce, fir, and lodgepole pine; also in aspen groves near conifers. Winters mostly in pine and pine-oak woodland in mountains. Even those few that wander to lowlands in winter are likely to be f
ound in conifers.


Courtship displays include exaggerated floating and fluttering flight near nest site, and members of pair facing each other while bobbing and swinging heads.
b Nest: Site is cavity in tree, often in aspen, pine, or fir, usually 5-
60′ above ground. Favors trees with dead heartwood and live outer layer, and may return to dig new nest holes in same tree year after year. Excavation of cavity is by male. No nest material other than wood chips in bottom of cavity.
b Eggs: 4-5, sometimes 3-7. White. Incubation is by both sexes (with male incubating at night and part of day), 12-14 days.
b Young: Both parents feed young, carrying food in bill and throat; young are fed mostly ants. Young leave nest 3-4 weeks after hatching, may disperse from territory very soon afterward. Apparently 1 brood per year.

Feeding habits

Includes insects, tree sap, fruit. Eats many kinds of in
sects; ants may form a very high percentage of diet during breeding season. Also feeds heavily on tree sap and eats some small fruits and berries.
b Behavior:
Has typical sapsucker habit of drilling sap wells, rows of shallow holes in bark; the bird returns repeatedly to feed on oozing sap and on insects attracted to the sap. Also takes insects gleaned elsewhere in trees, sometimes catches insects in the air o
r on ground, and perches among twigs to eat berries.


This species has a very large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). The population trend appears to be stable, and hence the species does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is very large, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.
Williamsons Sapsucker status Least Concern


Southeastern British Columbia, western United States. Winters into northern Mexico. b Migration:
Seems to migrate along mountain ranges, wintering at upper elevations, as far south as west-central Mexico. A few move to lowlands; has wandered east to Louisiana. Females may winter a little farther south than males, on average.

Distribution map

Williamsons Sapsucker distribution range map

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