Red-naped sapsucker Sphyrapicus nuchalis


Identification Tips:

Adult male:

Adult female:

Juvenile:

Similar species:

White patch on wing coverts sets sapsuckers apart from all other woodpeckers. Red-naped can hybridize with Red-breasted, so attention should be paid in zone of overlap for birds showing unusually large amounts of red about the head or breast. Males are distinguished from male Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers only by the red nape spot and incomplete frame to red throat of Red-naped Sapsucker. Females are somewhat easier to distinguish, as they differ in these characters, as well as having quite different throat patterns (white in Yellow-bellied, red and white in Red- naped). It is worth noting that any sapsucker in juvenal plumage after late fall must be a Yellow-bellied. Beware of rare hybrid Yellow-bellied x Red-naped Sapsuckers, and the occasional Yellow- bellied Sapsucker which may show a red nape spot.

Length and wingspan from: Robbins, C.S., Bruun, B., Zim, H.S., (1966). Birds of North America. New York: Western Publishing Company, Inc.


Patuxent Bird Population Studies
Patuxent Bird Identification InfoCenter