#257 Yellow Bellied Sapsucker (Sphyrapicus varius)

16 November

The yellow-bellied sapsucker is found across Canada, eastern Alaska and the northeastern United States. These birds winter in the eastern United States, West Indies and Central America.

When this sapsucker is breeding, it is generally found in deciduous and mixed coniferous forests up to 2,000 metres (6,600 ft) in height. During the non-breeding season, on the other hand, it usually inhabits forests, but the edge of the forest, open woodland, and semi-open habitats are sometimes utilized. It is also seen at larger trees in pastures, clearings, and suburban areas.

The yellow-bellied sapsucker usually forages by itself, although it sometimes joins small groups in the winter, and occasionally mixes into flocks of insectivores in the winter.

Arthropods, tree sap, fruits, and nuts compose the majority of the yellow-bellied sapsucker’s diet. It also takes bast and cambium from trees. Berries are occasionally eaten, and in the Northern Hemisphere spring, buds are eaten. Arthropod prey is usually in the form of Lepidoptera, Odonata, or both the young and adults of beetles and ants. During the nesting season, insects comprise about half the diet of the adults. During the late Northern Hemisphere summer and throughout the same hemisphere’s autumn, sap is the primary food of choice. Cambium is taken throughout the year, although it is primarily eaten during the Northern Hemisphere winter and spring. Fruit is mainly eaten during October to February

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