Verification of Unusual Sight Record
For Utah

Rec. # 2003-32

Common name:

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker

Scientific name: Sphyrapicus varius
Date: 3 Sep 2003
Time: ~1:00 to 2:00 PM
Length of time observed: 10 to 15 minutes intermittently
Number: 1
Age: adult
Sex: male
Location: Harker Canyon
County: Tooele
Latilong: 5
Distance to bird: 25 to 30 feet
Optical equipment: 8 x 40 Zeiss Binoculars, 8 x 42 Baush and Lomb binoculars, Kowa TSN 823 spotting scope
Weather: clear
Light Conditions: good
Detailed description of bird: Definitely a sapsucker with a white wing patch, red throat, red cap and yellow belly and also foraging like a woodpecker.  The red on the throat was small and completely surrounded by black. The white and black markings on the back were smuggey and mostly in one line. The crown was red. There was a white line over the eye and black through the eye.  The belly was distinctly yellow, but not as yellow as in the Williamson's Sapsucker.
Song or call & method of delivery: none
Behavior: It was foraging up the limbs and trunk of the cottonwood trees and flew from tree to tree.
Habitat: Riparian with narrow-leaf poplar (cottonwood) and aspen. 
Similar species and how
were they eliminated:
From Red-naped Sapsucker based on the black completely surrounding the red on the throat and there was no red on the nape and the back was more smuggy than the Red-naped.
Previous experience with
this & similar species:
Merrill saw a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker in Minnesota 2 years ago.  Both observers have plenty of experience with Red-naped Sapsuckers.
References consulted: Sibley's, Kauffmann's and National Geographic field guides
Description from: Memory
Observer: Merrill Webb and Milton Moody
Observer's address: 1063 East 400 North, Orem and 2795 Indian Hills Drive, Provo
Observer's e-mail address:
Other observers who independently identified this bird: None (yet)
Date prepared: 3 Sep 2003
Additional material:  
Additional comments: We tried to get photos, but the bird was too active high in the trees.