sapsucker bird

16 Interesting Sapsucker Facts Revealed!

The sapsucker woodpecker is a bird that can be found in North America. It is typically found on the edge of forests, wetlands, and open areas. The sapsucker woodpecker gets its name from its diet which consists mainly of sap or tree bark which has been tapped for sap.

This article will provide some interesting facts about this bird such as: what it looks like, where it lives, what it eats, and how you can help to protect them!

Interesting Sapsucker Facts

  • The Sapsucker is a small, stout-bodied woodpecker with a relatively short bill. The four species of the Sapsuckers in North America are the Red-naped, Williamson’s, Red-bellied and Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers.
  • The Sapsucker Woodpecker bird is a type of woodpecker that belongs to the family “Picidae.”
  • These sapsuckers live mostly in the northern parts of Canada, Alaska, Maine, Minnesota, Montana, New York and Washington state.
  • All four species have similar habitats which include forests with plenty of trees for roosting or nesting as well as lots of insects to eat.
  • All members of this family are characterized by their zygodactyl toes (two toes facing forward and two back) which allow them to climb trees head first.
  • Sapsuckers have pointed bills for drilling into trees to feed on sap and insects that live inside trees.
  • This bird primarily eats tree sap, insects and other invertebrates, but it will also eat fruit and berries when they are available.
  • They live in deciduous forests or coniferous forests, and often make their homes near streams or rivers where they have access to food year round. 
  • The male and female have similar plumage, but the males are typically more brightly colored than females.
  • The name “sapsucker” comes from their feeding habits of drilling holes in trees to extract sap (or “sap”). It has been hypothesized that this habit may have contributed to their evolution into a primarily insectivorous diet.
  • Sapsucker Woodpeckers are found in North America and prefer to live in areas where there is a variety of different trees to choose from, including both hardwoods and softwoods.
  • These birds tend to nest in the hollows of dead or dying trees which are typically filled with sap and other fluids from previous years’ drilling.
  • Sapsucker facts show that sap-eaters have a number of different predators, including hawks, eagles, raccoons, cats, coyotes, owls, foxes, owls, eagles, snakes, and raccoons.
  • Most of the sapsucker’s life expectancy is about 5 years.
  • Sapsuckers are considered “not vulnerable” to extinction in parts of their range.
  • These factors include, among others, weather, the number of natural resources that the area provides, and other predators of sapsuckers. They have been increasing in population.

4 Types of Sapsuckers in North America

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker

Image by mdherren from Pixabay

The Yellow-bellied Sapsucker is a woodpecker that can be found in North America, Central America and the Caribbean.. It is mainly active during the day and will often feed on insects and sap from trees.

The bird has many adaptations that allow it to live in temperate forests, including its large head crest which helps with insulation, as well as a stiff tail which aids with stability when it’s perched on tree branches.

Red-Naped Sapsucker

Image by karchicken from Pixabay

The Red-naped Sapsucker Woodpecker is a woodpecker that resides in the Eastern United States. This bird has a distinctive red cap on its head and neck, which was said to be why it was given this name.

They are known for their habit of drilling holes into trees to extract sap. The reason they do this is that they feed mainly on insects living in or around these trees and need something with high sugar content to sustain themselves.

Red-breasted Sapsucker

The Red-breasted Sapsucker woodpecker is a small bird that resides in the Northern Hemisphere. It can be found throughout Canada and all the United States except for parts of California, Nevada, Oregon, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas.

It eats mainly insects like ants or beetles but also consumes seeds from coniferous trees. The bird’s common name derives from the fact that it feeds on sap which it extracts by drilling holes in trees or other plant stems with its strong, chisel-like bill.

Williamson’s Sapsucker

A small, elusive bird found in the American southwest is in danger of extinction. The Williamson’s woodpecker, which lives in Arizona and New Mexico, has declined from more than 200 to fewer than 30 breeding pairs since 1987.

Scientists attribute this dramatic decline to logging and drought-related habitat loss; however a more specific reason for their decrease may be that they are dying off due to West Nile virus.

Attracting the Sapsucker to your Yard

One of the most interesting things about sapsuckers is that they are quite easy to attract to your yard, and they are considered quite attractive.

Because they are so easily attracted, they are often a favorite of people who like to watch birds, especially during mating season. The best way to attract them to your yard is with a suet feeder.

Birds Choice makes a high-quality suet feeder, it’s called the Birds Choice SNDTP Bird 2-Cake Feeder with Angled Suet Basket, you can check out the price on Amazon.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do Sapsuckers eat bugs?

Sapsuckers, like other woodpeckers, drills holes into trees to get at insects living inside the bark or deep within branches of the tree. They will then drill many more tiny holes to drink up the sap as it flows out.

Do Sapsuckers harm trees?

Sapsuckers feed on insects that it finds in trees, and drills holes into the bark of tree trunks to extract sap for food. These birds do not usually harm trees or cause significant damage, but sometimes they may drill too many holes, which weakens the tree’s structure.

Where do Sapsuckers nest?

They are only found in North America and live in forests with large trees. These birds nest high up in the canopy, often as high as 100 feet off of the ground! Their nests are made out of mosses, grasses, leaves and bark strips which they find at their nesting site. 

Can a Sapsucker kill a tree?

The short answer is no, it can’t. Sapsucker’s main source of food are the tree’s wounds and dead parts. For a Sapsucker to kill a tree it would need to spend months of its life pecking away at the bark until it eventually compromised the survival of the tree.

Is Sapsucker a Woodpecker?

Woodpeckers and sapsuckers both belong to the same order of birds called Piciformes, which includes about 160 species worldwide. The Sapsucker is a member of the genus “Sphyrapicus,” while the Woodpecker belongs to the genus “Melanerpes.”