Deep Dive: Red-breasted Sapsuckers

by OBDK on March 20, 2023

Red-breasted Sapsuckers live in the western regions of the United States and Canada.1 They stand about 8 inches tall and have a wingspan up to 16 inches long.1&2 They can be found in riparian woodland and coniferous forests.2
They aren’t migratory birds but occasionally will move to lower elevations in certain seasons. They can live in altitudes up to almost 10,000 feet.3 When they mate and reproduce, they’ll usually reproduce around April or May. Females can lay up to 7 eggs.1 Red-breasted Sapsuckers are cavity nesters and so they’ll spend almost two weeks creating a cavity in a dead tree.3 When offspring are born, they’ll spend about a month in the nest.1
These birds are closely related to both the Red-naped Sapsucker and the Yellow-bellied Sapsucker.3 They’ll often breed with the Red-naped Sapsucker where their habitats intersect.2
As their name suggests, and like other sapsuckers we’ve spoken about, these birds feed on sap within trees.They’ll peck holes into trees to get to the sap and they’ll even peck holes above the holes they previously made to get more.3 They will also eat ants and other insects, along with fruit.1
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