S.F. Baird, 1858
As their name implies, sapsuckers feed primarily on the sap of trees, moving among different tree and shrub species on a seasonal basis. Insects, especially those attracted to the sweet sap exuding from sap holes, are often captured and fed to the young during the breeding season. The most easily recognized sap holes are found in birch trees during the breeding season.
The members of this genus are slender birds with stiff tails and relatively long wings. Their typical pattern in flight is undulating, alternating between quick bursts of wing beats and short dips with wings tucked against the body.
Because sapsuckers attack living trees, they are often considered a pest species.
Species currently recognised include
- Red-naped Sapsucker Sphyrapicus nuchalis
- Red-breasted Sapsucker Sphyrapicus ruber
- Williamson's Sapsucker Sphyrapicus thyroideus
- Yellow-bellied Sapsucker Sphyrapicus varius
- ^ TATE, J. 1973. Methods and annual sequence of foraging by the sapsucker. Auk 90:840-856.
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