Date: 2/1/18 12:19 pm
From: Carl Lundblad <carl.lundblad...>
Subject: Re: [AZNMbirds] Is the Patagonia Red-breasted Sapsucker a hybrid?
It has come to my attention that many expert birders in southern California
(in the range of ssp. daggetti) are uncomfortable calling the Patagonia
bird a pure Red-breasted and also lean towards either a hybrid or a
backcross, so Denny may well be right about this individual (though I think
the original remarks were oversimplified and overlooked the intraspecific
variation seen in red-breasted). Sapsuckers identification is a pain,
given the presence of multiple hybrid zones, introgression, and nearly
continuous plumage variation. Even Yellow-bellied may come into contact
with Red-breasted in northern British Columbia. When I moved to Nevada, I
was very reluctant to label anything remotely ambiguous as a pure
red-breasted, but other birders convinced me I was being overly-cautions,
and perhaps I've swung too far in the other direction. This is always a
good reference to review and review again......:

Good Birding,

Carl Lundblad
Moscow, ID

On Thu, Feb 1, 2018 at 9:21 AM, Carl Lundblad <carl.lundblad...>

> Hi Denny,
> There is a long history of hybrid Red-breasted X Red-naped Sapsuckers
> occurring in southeastern Arizona, and hybrids should always be considered
> when encountering red-breasted like sapsuckers outside of their breeding
> range. Most (or all) of the previous Red-breasted Sapsuckers from Arizona
> have been of the southern race, daggetti, which has a more intermediate
> face pattern than your northern/ssp. ruber birds in central Washington.
> The more-intermediate face pattern of daggetti indeed makes them tricky to
> separate from hybrids, but presumptive hybrids usually show some traces of
> a red-naped's black shield/throat frame on the upper breast. Looking at
> the various photos of the Patagonia individual that are in eBird, I don't
> see any of the black on the upper breast, and the face pattern looks pretty
> typical of a daggetti red-breasted. The black and white patterning on the
> face in your photo looks a bit more extreme than in many of the other
> photos, but I would probably attribute that to some combination of the
> weird angle, weird lighting, and or maybe greater feather-wear compared to
> earlier in the season. To me, this looks like a very good candidate for a
> pure southern/daggetti Red-breasted, and Arizona has a very skilled team of
> eBird reviewers who I'm sure have already carefully considered this
> question. Other opinions welcome, however. It's not a trivial
> identification challenge.
> Respectfully,
> Carl Lundblad
> Moscow, ID
> On Thu, Feb 1, 2018 at 8:58 AM, Denny Granstrand <dgranstrand...>
> wrote:
>> I was in Patagonia yesterday and was given directions to the location of
>> the Red-breasted Sapsucker. I found it quickly and got some photos. It
>> appears to me that it is a hybrid Red-breasted X Red-naped Sapsucker. The
>> red on the head is broken up by the face pattern of a RNSA showing through.
>> A pure RBSA should be a nearly complete red head or with only touches of
>> black or white around the eye.
>> Here is the link to my eBird report from yesterday:
>> I live in Yakima, WA. In the forests in Yakima County we frequently see
>> mixed pairs of RNSA and RBSA. We also see the hybrid offspring regularly. I
>> have photos of hybrids in the Sapsucker folder on my website:
>> Some of the hybrid sapsuckers in my photos look just like the one in
>> Patagonia.
>> If you do an eBird search for Red-breasted Sapsucker photos, you will
>> find quite a few that look like the one in Patagonia. You will notice,
>> though, most of those photos were taken during the winter. Those birds
>> undoubtedly were migrants from the sapsucker hybridization zone in the
>> Pacific Northwest.
>> Denny Granstrand
>> * * * * * * * * * * * *
>> Denny Granstrand
>> Yakima, WA
>> dgranstrand AT
>> Denny Granstrand's bird photos can be seen at:
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