Date: 3/5/18 10:00 am
From: Frank Fogarty via va-bird <va-bird...>
Subject: Re: [Va-bird] Red-naped Sapsucker
Hi all,

As someone who has surveyed for Red-naped Sapsucker in the Great Basin for
years, I can feel confident saying this bird looks good for an normal adult
male Yellow-bellied Sapsucker. Red nape patches are uncommon in this
species but by no means unheard of or a definitive indication of hybrid
origin. I've seen this in the field on YBSA several times, and seen it in
photos dozens of times. The few brownish feathers high on the back are not
atypical in adults of any species and not necessarily indicative of this
being a Second-Year bird.

The two most important features for distinguishing these two species, the
latter of which was not mentioned at all in the ID, are the throat/malar
pattern and back pattern. This bird has a typical YBSA throat pattern, with
the red throat completely encased by a thick, black border. I have never
seen this in hundreds of RNSA I have surveyed, despite being on the look
out for hybrids. As an aside, I checked the BNA media archive for this
species and all of the birds there lack this feature and look fine for
RNSA. The back pattern of this bird, while not seen straight on, is
extensively white and messy which also supports a pure YBSA. RNSA typically
has less white on the back, with the white markings clustered into two
distinct, vertical lines.


Frank Fogarty
Davis, CA

On Mon, Mar 5, 2018 at 9:15 AM, Marlene A Condon via va-bird <
<va-bird...> wrote:

> Although I wasn't asked how I made my identification, I guess I should at
> least address what has been written here.
> Although some books make mention of Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers having a red
> nape, I have to ask, "How many people out there have ever seen this?" I
> have been paying attention to birds for as long as I can remember, while
> growing up in the Northeast, living out west, and living in Virginia. Not
> only have I never seen a YB Sap with a red nape, but as far as I can tell
> from this list serve, neither has anyone else.
> I might point out that the suggestion that a YB Sap has a red nape would
> mean the bird must carry Red-naped genes in order to express that red nape,
> which would make the bird a hybrid, not a YB Sap.
> Regarding that black border: You can find many pictures online of birds
> identified as Red-naped Sapsuckers that were taken out west by people who
> live out west, and the birds show a fully black-enclosed red area. In
> fact. if I recall correctly, I even found such a picture at the Cornell
> Birds of North America write-up on Red-naped Sapsuckers (the version you
> pay to access).
> After looking at many, many photos, and looking up this bird and Yb Sap in
> many, many books, I have to conclude that the I.D. characteristics are not
> set in stone, as some folks claim them to be. In fact, considering that
> all of these sapsuckers were once lumped together as one species, it's
> surprising anyone would think the field marks are that definitive.
> Sincerely,
> Marlene
> In a message dated 3/5/2018 9:40:02 AM US Eastern Standard Time,
> <va-bird...> writes:
> Marshall,
> I also think yellow-bellied. They can occasionally have a red nape, and
> the throat is completely bordered in black.
> Marc Ribaudo
> Marc Ribaudo
> <moribaudo...>
> On Monday, March 5, 2018 Marshall Faintich via va-bird <
> <va-bird...> wrote:
> Marlene Condon posted a link to a photo of the Red-naped Sapsucker that she
> saw in Albemarle County. Although I have seen and photographed 100+
> Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers, I have only seen one Red-naped Sapsucker, and
> that was a year ago in Arizona (photos can been viewed on my Woodpecker
> photo pages:
> As I have only seen one Red-naped Sapsucker, my posting here is really more
> of a question for learning than disputing Marlene's identification. The
> photo that she posted is clearly an interesting bird. When I first looked
> at
> it, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker jumped into my mind - perhaps the gizz, or
> posture of the bird. But this bird clearly has red on its nape. So I
> started
> checking references. Although Sibley's hardback field guide does not state
> the following, his electronic app states for Yellow-bellied, "nape, usually
> white, occasionally red." It also states that the throat of the
> Yellow-bellied Sapsucker has "limited red with a complete black border" as
> seen in Marlene's photo, whereas the Red-naped Sapsucker's throat has
> "extensive red with incomplete black border," which is also the case in my
> photos of this species taken in Arizona. Additionally, Sibley's hardback
> guide states that the Red-naped has white bars in two rows on its back, and
> the Yellow-bellied has messy white bars on its back. I can't tell from the
> side view on Marlene's photo what its back really looks like. I also can't
> see its white wing bar, but that feature might be covered by breast
> feathers.
> So for those of you with expert knowledge of sapsuckers, is this bird a
> Red-naped or a variation of a Yellow-bellied? Either way, it's an
> interesting bird, and thanks to Marlene for posting the photo.
> ___________________________
> Marshall Faintich
> Crozet, VA
> <marshall...>
> <>
> In real life, the shortest distance between two points is never a straight
> line, so you might as well enjoy the journey !!
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