Verification of Unusual Sight Record
For Utah

Rec. # 2003-

Common name:

Red-breasted Sapsucker

Scientific name: Sphyrapicus ruber daggetti
Date: 10-17-03
Time: 1650
Length of time observed: 20 minutes
Number: 1
Age: adult
Sex: male
Location: orchard at Lytle Ranch, Beaver Dam Wash
County: Washington
Latilong: 19
Elevation: ~ 850 m
Distance to bird: 5-20 m
Optical equipment: 0 x 42 binoculars
Weather: clear, calm, and hot
Light Conditions: bright, but bird remained in shade of orchard
Detailed description of bird: A small to medium sized woodpecker with a red head, dark back and pale belly.

Head: bright red crown, nape, chin, and throat extending down to breast. Black eye with a few black feathers in front and immediately behind the eye. Distinct white spot above and behind the eye, and a white patch through the lores. A small indistinct patch of black and white in auricular area. Large dark stout bill.

Underparts: Red breast and pale yellow belly. Sides, flanks, and undertail coverts whitish yellow with blurry grayish streaks and vermiculations.

Upperparts: Wings black with a bold white scapular patch and limited white spots in primaries. Back was black, with limited yellow / white barring arranged in two parallel rows. Rump white. Tail dark with a few white cental spots.
(see photos)

Song or call & method of delivery: none heard
Behavior: typical sapsucker behavior, sticking close to tree trunk, moving slowly, and working sapwells. Short quick flights, landing in interior of tree. Unlike other sapsuckers this bird would freeze when approached (not flusing or slinking around to back side of tree trunk).
Habitat: Orchard with a variety of trees, including fruiting persimmons and apples, near cottonwood/willow riparian cooridor.
Similar species and how
were they eliminated:
Red-naped Sapsucker: Has bold black, white, and red head pattern (not primarily red), and black bib on chest.

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker: Distinct head pattern, black on chest, and more extensive barring on back

Hybrids (RN X RB): show more black and white in head pattern, and show some black on chest.
Previous experience with
this & similar species:
Very limited. This is the first I've seen in Utah. I've seen them a couple times in Nevada, however I've seen
several Red-naped X RB hybrids in Washington County.
References consulted:  
Description from: Notes made later
Observer: Rick Fridell and Kevin Wheeler
Observer's address: 3505 West 290 North, Hurricane, UT 84737
Observer's e-mail address:
Other observers who independently identified this bird: Kevin Wheeler
Date prepared: 10-23-03  (General Public)
Additional material: Photos
Additional comments: I believe this was a typical male of the southern Red-breasted Sapsucker subspecies (daggetti).