Overview

Brief Summary

For most of the 20th century, the  Red-naped Sapsucker (Sphyrapicus nuchalis), the Yellow-bellied Sapsucker (S. varius), and the Red-breasted Sapsucker (S. ruber) were treated as belonging to a single species, S. varius (sometimes the Red-breasted Sapsucker was excluded). The three species are very similar, including genetically, and Red-naped Sapsuckers hybridize extensively with Red-breasted Sapsuckers (and, to a lesser extent, with Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers), but data on mating preferences has supported their status as biological species. (Howell 1952; Scott et al. 1976; Johnson and Johnson 1985; Cicero and Johnson 1995).

The Red-naped Sapsucker, which breeds across much of the western third of the United States and adjacent Canada, looks very similar to the eastern Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, but has a variable red patch on the back of the head, more extensive red on the male's throat, and red on the female's throat (absent from Yellow-bellied Sapsucker female's throat).

Red-naped Sapsuckers are common in summer in deciduous and mixed forests, especially around Quaking Aspens (Populus tremuloides), in the Great Basin and Rocky Mountain ranges, with a small number in the Sierra Nevada. They are rare west of the Sierra Nevada and very rare in the Pacific Northwest and west of the Cascades (where Red-breasted Sapsuckers are common). They occur casually east to the western Great Plains. They winter from southern California, southern Nevada, and central Arizona and New Mexico south to central Mexico.

(Kaufman 1996: Dunn and Alderfer 2011)

Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (CC BY 3.0)

© Leo Shapiro

Supplier: Leo Shapiro

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Distribution

occurs (regularly, as a native taxon) in multiple nations

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© NatureServe

Source: NatureServe

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

National Distribution

Canada

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

Type of Residency: Breeding

United States

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

Type of Residency: Year-round

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© NatureServe

Source: NatureServe

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Global Range: (200,000-2,500,000 square km (about 80,000-1,000,000 square miles)) Nesting range includes the Rocky Mountain region from the southeastern quarter of British Columbia, southwestern and southeastern Alberta, western and central Montana, and the Black Hills of South Dakota south, east of Cascades and Sierra Nevada, to east-central California, southern Nevada, central Arizona, southern New Mexico, and extreme western Texas (Davis and Guadalupe mountains) (AOU 1998). During the nonbreeding season, the range extends from southern California (casually Oregon), southern Nevada, Utah, and central New Mexico south to southern Baja California, Jalisco, Durango, Coahuila, and Nuevo Leon (AOU 1998). Casual or accidental records exist elsewhere.

Coded range extent refers to breeding range.

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© NatureServe

Source: NatureServe

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Range

SW Canada to sw US; winters to n Mexico and s Baja California.
  • Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2014. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: Version 6.9. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Ecology

Habitat

Habitat and Ecology

Systems
  • Terrestrial
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources

Source: IUCN

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Comments: Breeding habitat is primarily coniferous forest that includes aspen and other hardwoods (AOU 1998), at elevations ranging from near sea level to 2,900 meters (Walters et al. 2002). In the Northern Rockies, the species is most abundant in cottonwood and aspen forests, also observed in other riparian cover types and in harvested conifer forests. Of harvest types, most observations were in patch cuts, seed-tree cuts, clearcuts, and older clearcuts. Birds in harvested stands and in drier conifer forests were probably associated with patches of deciduous trees (Hutto and Young 1999). In the Centennial Mountains, Idaho, sapsuckers used xeric tall willow communities (Douglas et al. 1992). In Wyoming and Colorado, sapsuckers were closely associated with aspen and mixed habitats (Finch and Reynolds 1988). In Colorado subalpine forests, they were significantly associated with habitats where aspen occurs near (less than 50 meters) willow, and used the willow for foraging (Ehrlich and Daily 1988, Daily et al. 1993). In the Pacific Northwest, the species typically breeds in aspen, riparian cottonwood, ponderosa pine, mixed conifer, and white fir forests (Bull 1978).

This species is a primary cavity nester that excavates nest holes in snags or living trees with a dead or rotten interior, and it shows a strong preference for aspen (Johnsgard 1986, Li and Martin 1991, Daily 1993;) but also uses paper birch, cottonwood, alder, western larch, ponderosa pine, Jeffrey pine, and lodgepole pine (Bent 1939, USDA Forest Service 1994). It especially favors aspen with heartwood decay brought about by shelf fungus (Fomes igniarius var. populinus), a heart rot that infects roots and dead branch stubs and spreads from the base of trees upward, but leaves the sapwood intact (Kilham 1971, Crockett and Hadow 1975, Daily 1993, Dobkin et al. 1995).

In a Colorado study, sapsuckers placed the first nest cavity close to ground and then excavated progressively higher cavities in subsequent years. Nest cavities were usually freshly excavated during the season of use and most nests were in trees bearing nest cavities excavated during previous years. Nest height averaged 2.7 meters in trees with no other cavities, 6.0 meters in trees with more than one cavity (Daily 1993). In a study in Colorado and Wyoming, sapsuckers used both healthy aspen and aspen infected by shelf fungus, nested in trees 17 to 42 centimeter dbh (mean 31 centimeter dbh) and used cavities that were 1 to 11 meters high (mean 5 meters; Crockett and Hadow 1975). In Colorado, abundance did not vary with differences in understories (herbaceous, short shrub, tall shrub) of mature aspen stands (Finch and Reynolds 1987).

In Oregon and Washington, the species is reported to nest in snags greater than or equal to 25.4 centimeter dbh at nest heights at least 4.6 meters (Thomas et al. 1979). In snow pocket and riparian aspen groves of the northwestern Great Basin, it used live trees more often than dead trees; nest trees measured 27 centimeter dbh and 14.6 meters high on average, were located an average of 20 meters from edges, and mean canopy cover was 76 percent (Dobkin et al. 1995). In western larch/Douglas-fir forests of northwestern Montana, it nested in both small and large trees, ranging from 22 to 119 centimeter dbh and averaging 58 centimeter dbh (McClelland et al. 1979).

In a study in mixed conifer forest in central Arizona, sapsuckers were strongly associated with large aspen (greater than 15 centimeter dbh), aspen snags, and large conifers (greater than 15 centimeter dbh), and negatively associated with shrub cover. Sapsuckers nested exclusively in aspen; mean nest height was 13.3 meters and mean dbh of nest trees was 37.1 centimeters (Li and Martin 1991).

Foraging includes drilling for sap in conifer (e.g., western larch, pine) and deciduous trees (e.g. aspen, willow, cottonwood, birch. In California, sapsuckers drilled in and around pitchy bole wounds on ponderosa pine that were the result of earlier overstory removal and porcupine feeding (Oliver 1970).

In migration and winter, habitat include various forest and open woodland habitats, parks, orchards, and gardens (AOU 1998). In southern California, winter habitats include riparian desert and other riparian habitats (USDA Forest Service 1994). In northwestern Mexico the species is found in forests and edge feeding at mid- to upper levels; it may overlap with wintering yellow-bellied sapsuckers in northcentral Mexico and red-breasted sapsuckers in northern Baja California (Howell and Webb 1995). In western Mexico, Hutto (1992) found red-naped sapsucker only in pine-oak-fir forest.

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© NatureServe

Source: NatureServe

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Migration

Non-Migrant: No. All populations of this species make significant seasonal migrations.

Locally Migrant: Yes. At least some populations of this species make local extended movements (generally less than 200 km) at particular times of the year (e.g., to breeding or wintering grounds, to hibernation sites).

Locally Migrant: Yes. At least some populations of this species make annual migrations of over 200 km.

Arrives in northern Rocky Mountains mainly April-May, departs late summer to early fall. In California, migrates north between end of March to end of April; fall migration lasts from September through the end of October (USDA Forest Service 1994). A transient and winter visitor in northwestern Mexico from late September to mid-April (Howell and Webb 1995).

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© NatureServe

Source: NatureServe

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Trophic Strategy

Comments: Drills rows of small holes in conifer and broad-leaved trees and drinks the sap that flows from these holes; also feeds on insects caught in the sap. Amount of sap taken and tree species used vary seasonally (Scott et al. 1977). Sap is most important in seasons when insects are not abundant. Also feeds on tree cambium, ants, beetles, wasps, caterpillars, beetles, and small amounts of fruit and berries (Scott et al. 1977, USDA Forest Service 1994).

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© NatureServe

Source: NatureServe

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Population Biology

Number of Occurrences

Note: For many non-migratory species, occurrences are roughly equivalent to populations.

Estimated Number of Occurrences: 81 - 300

Comments: This species is represented by a large number of occurrences (subpopulations).

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© NatureServe

Source: NatureServe

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Global Abundance

>1,000,000 individuals

Comments: Total adult population size is unknown but likely exceeds 1,000,000. Rich et al. (2004) estimated population size at 2,200,000.

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© NatureServe

Source: NatureServe

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

General Ecology

Considered a "double keystone" species for its role excavating nest cavities and drilling sap wells, both of which are subsequently use by other species (Ehrlich and Daily 1988, Daily et al. 1993). Nest cavities are subsequently used by secondary cavity nesters, such as tree swallows (TACHYCINETA BICOLOR), violet-green swallows (TACHYCINETA THALASSINA), mountain bluebirds (SIALIA CURRUCOIDES), chickadees (POECILE spp.), northern flickers (COLAPTES AURATUS), and house wrens (TROGLODYTES AEDON; Daily et al. 1993). In one study, tree swallows and violet-green swallows were restricted to groves occupied by sapsuckers (Daily et al. 1993). Sap wells are used by 40+ species, including hummingbirds, warblers, chipmunks, squirrels, wasps and butterflies (Phillips 1964, Daily et al. 1993).

Centers of breeding abundance in British Columbia, the northern Rockies, northeastern Oregon, and the Colorado Rockies (Sauer et al. 1997). In Pacific Northwest, territory size reported as 4 hectares (Bull 1978). In California, defends territories 0.6 to 6.0 hectares in size (USDA Forest Service 1994).

Hybridizes with red-breasted sapsucker (SPHYRAPICUS RUBER) and yellow-bellied sapsucker (SPHYRAPICUS VARIUS) where distributions overlap and may produce viable hybrid offspring; hybrid and backcross matings, however, are apparently selected against (Scott et al. 1976, Johnson and Johnson 1985).

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© NatureServe

Source: NatureServe

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Life History and Behavior

Reproduction

Lays four to five eggs incubated by both female and male; incubation 12-13 days; young altricial; 25-26 days to fledging; both sexes attend young (Ehrlich et al. 1988). In Colorado, nests with eggs recorded throughout June. Nestlings noted late June to mid-July in Montana and Wyoming (Johnsgard 1986). In central Arizona, 100 percent of 18 nests monitored successfully fledged young (Li and Martin 1991). Re-use of same nest tree, but with a new cavity, each year suggests strong site fidelity (USDA Forest Service 1994).

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© NatureServe

Source: NatureServe

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Barcode data: Sphyrapicus nuchalis

The following is a representative barcode sequence, the centroid of all available sequences for this species.


There are 7 barcode sequences available from BOLD and GenBank.

Below is a sequence of the barcode region Cytochrome oxidase subunit 1 (COI or COX1) from a member of the species.

See the BOLD taxonomy browser for more complete information about this specimen and other sequences.

CCTATACCTTATCTTCGGCGCATGAGCCGGTATAATCGGCACAGCCCTCAGCCTCCTCATTCGTGCTGAACTAGGCCAGCCCGGTACTCTCCTTGGTGACGACCAAATCTACAATGTAATTGTCACTGCTCATGCATTCGTAATAATCTTCTTCATAGTTATACCCATCATAATCGGAGGGTTCGGAAACTGACTAGTACCCCTCATGATTGGAGCCCCCGACATAGCATTCCCCCGAATAAATAACATAAGCTTCTGACTCCTCCCCCCATCATTTCTTCTTCTTCTAGCCTCCTCAACAGTAGAAGCAGGGGCTGGAACAGGCTGAACTGTCTACCCACCTCTCGCTGGTAACCTAGCCCACGCAGGAGCCTCAGTAGACCTGGCCATCTTCTCCCTCCACCTAGCAGGCATTTCGTCCATCTTAGGGGCGATTAACTTCATCACAACAGCCATCAACATAAAACCACCAGCTATTTCACAATACCAAACCCCCCTATTTGTCTGATCAGTCCTCATCACCGCCGTCCTACTACTCCTATCTCTACCAGTTCTAGCTGCAGGGATCACAATACTCCTTACAGACCGCAACCTAAACACTACATTCTTTGACCCCGCTGGCGGAGGCGACCCAATCCTTTACCAACATCTTTTCTGATTCTTTGGCCACCCAGAANNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNN
-- end --

Download FASTA File

Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (CC BY 3.0)

© Barcode of Life Data Systems

Source: Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD)

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Statistics of barcoding coverage: Sphyrapicus nuchalis

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 7
Specimens with Barcodes: 7
Species With Barcodes: 1
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (CC BY 3.0)

© Barcode of Life Data Systems

Source: Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD)

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Conservation

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
LC
Least Concern

Red List Criteria

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2012

Assessor/s
BirdLife International

Reviewer/s
Butchart, S. & Symes, A.

Contributor/s

Justification
This species has an extremely 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 extremely 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.

History
  • Least Concern (LC)
  • Least Concern (LC)
  • Least Concern (LC)
  • Lower Risk/least concern (LR/lc)
  • Lower Risk/least concern (LR/lc)
  • Lower Risk/least concern (LR/lc)
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources

Source: IUCN

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5