Flagstaff yard sapsucker: Yellow-bellied? Weird Red-naped? Hybrid?
29 Oct 2017, 5:09 PM,
Flagstaff yard sapsucker: Yellow-bellied? Weird Red-naped? Hybrid?
I've got a sort of goofy sapsucker in my yard today, 29 October. It's clearly a first winter bird, and is retaining a lot of juvenile plumage. That alone suggests Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, because a young Red-naped should already be looking like an adult by now. The mottled white markings on the back, which are scattered and disorganized rather than forming two vertical lines, also look good for YBSA. That said, the bird obviously has a blush of red on the nape, and the developing adult face pattern looks like it could be compatible with female Red-naped. Thoughts?






Flagstaff, AZ
29 Oct 2017, 6:51 PM,
RE: Flagstaff yard sapsucker: Yellow-bellied? Weird Red-naped? Hybrid?
Looks good for YBSA to me. Juvi plumage at this time of year is compelling evidence.

There is a family group of RNSA at Ashurst Lake (3 of them can be found literally feeding together in the (elm?) trees by the boat launch). All are in very crisp new fall/adult plumage.

Of course, I could be wrong.  ?
30 Oct 2017, 9:03 AM,
RE: Flagstaff yard sapsucker: Yellow-bellied? Weird Red-naped? Hybrid?
There is quite a varied opinion about this bird, but mine is coalescing toward it being a RNSA x YBSA hybrid (similar opinions have been voiced by others on Facebook's 'Birding Arizona' and 'Advanced Bird ID' pages). The main features pointing in this direction are the YBSA-like dorsal pattern, somewhat confusing molt stage of the bird (at this date RNSA immatures should appear fairly adult-like, while YNSA immatures should still look more juvenile-like), uniformity and extent of red on the crown and breast (more RNSA-like), and red/white pattern on chin and throat (similar to RNSA female and neither sex of YBSA).

A very interesting bird!


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