Friday, October 5, 2007

Orange Sapsucker

This Red-Bellied Woodpecker has been frequenting my backyard lately. Besides the normal bevy of daily visits by the Cardinals, I've been carefully watching to see what other birds are visiting. The Red-Bellied Woodpecker really likes the suet block and has started coming to it often.

It's red belly, which it gets the name from, is rarely seen. It's back has a very noticeable upperparts with the black and white barring, like a zebra. So much so that is is sometimes called the Zebra Woodpecker.

The plumage of the sexes are very similar except the males have a complete red hood on their heads. The females, as noted in the pictures, only have red on the nape of their necks.

They are fairly large woodpeckers, 9-10 inches in length, with a 15-18 inch wingspan. They are nonmigratory, monogamous birds. They have 1 brood in the North and 2 - 3 broods in the South.

They got the name "orange sapsucker" from Dr. B.H Warren who called attention to their love of oranges in Florida in 1890. They would eat many oranges when they were ready to pick and destroyed many trees by boring into the tree and sucking the sap.


Larry said...

That's interesting about the nicknane Orange Sapsucker.-I put out oranges for 3 years trying to attract Orioles.The orioles went after Mimosa and Crabapple flowers but never touched the oranges.Red-bellied Woodpeckers and gray Catbirds ate all of the oranges instead!

J. Karl Clampit said...

This has made me think about putting oranges back out. I put a few out earlier in the summer. Now that I have the Red-bellied woodpecker's attention with the suet, I may be able to get them to try some fruit too.


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